ANNAPOLIS – The Maryland Court of Special Appeals ruled Wednesday that a Salisbury man was properly convicted for breaking into an apartment and stealing jewelry, despite the defendant’s claim that the evidence against him was circumstantial.
Darryl Thomas Shields, 21, is serving a 15-year sentence for the crime, in which a gold ring, some opals and a necklace were taken from a Salisbury home in April 1994.
According to police documents, the home was entered from a sliding glass door, but there was no sign of forced entry. The family’s safe was emptied and left in the woods.
Salisbury police later received a tip that a man looking like Shields was seen in the area. While investigating an unrelated crime, they found the jewelry at the home of Shields’ girlfriend.
Defense lawyers argued that there was no sign the house was broken into because there was no forced entry, and that the conviction was based on “only a single strand of circumstantial evidence.”
But Judges Theodore Bloom, Arrie Davis and Glenn Harrell cited a 1991 case in which a similar appeal was made and rejected.
“Circumstantial evidence is entirely sufficient to support a conviction, provided the circumstances support rational inferences from which the [jury] could be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt of the guilt,” the court wrote.
With that as a standard, the court said, Shields was convicted properly. Assistant Public Defender Nancy Cohen, who represented Shields in his appeal, said that her office would make a decision sometime next week whether to appeal the ruling to the Court of Appeals, Maryland’s highest court. -30-