in the Court of Appeals 5 April 2017.
by defendant from order entered 21 April 2016 by Judge Mark
E. Powell in Transylvania County, Transylvania County, Nos.
14 CRS 052254-55, 52257-64; 15 CRS 109, 50040, 50069,
50072-73 Superior Court.
Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Assistant Attorney
General Phillip Reynolds, for the State.
Stephen G. Driggers for defendant-appellant.
Franklin Worley (defendant) was convicted by a jury of
multiple counts of felony breaking and entering, larceny, and
possession of stolen goods. He appeals from an order denying
his motion to suppress evidence seized during the executions
of warrants to search his rental cabin and truck for stolen
days after a reported breaking and entering of a horse
trailer and larceny of six identified items of horse tack, a
deputy applied for and was issued warrants to search
defendant's rental cabin and his truck for the horse
tack. The search of the rental cabin yielded the stolen horse
tack and other incriminating evidence justifying a second
search of the cabin. Defendant was later arrested.
moved to suppress the evidence seized during the searches of
his cabin, arguing the warrants lacked probable cause because
the deputy's affidavit underlying both search warrants
established no nexus between defendant's rental cabin and
the reported breaking and entering and larceny. The trial
court concluded the affidavit established probable cause and
entered an order denying defendant's suppression motion.
appeal, defendant argues again the warrants to search his
cabin for the missing horse tack lacked probable cause
because the underlying affidavit failed to establish a nexus
between the criminal activity and his rental cabin. Because
we hold that under the totality of the circumstances, the
accumulation of reasonable inferences drawn from information
contained within the affidavit sufficiently linked the
criminal activity to defendant's cabin, and thus
demonstrated the magistrate had a substantial basis to
conclude that probable cause existed to issue the warrants,
we affirm the trial court's order.
December 2014, Deputy Matthew C. Owen of the Transylvania
County Sheriff's Office (TCSO) applied for warrants to
search defendant's truck and rental cabin for identified
items of horse tack reported missing after a breaking and
entering of a horse trailer on 441 Sugar Loaf Road. Deputy
Owen's supporting affidavit revealed the following
December 2014, deputies of the TCSO responded to a reported
breaking and entering of a horse trailer located at 441 Sugar
Loaf Road and discovered that horse tack worth approximately
$1, 135.00 was missing and last seen the previous morning. On
27 December 2014, Mrs. McCall, one of the property's
owners, called the TCSO about the incident and reported that
defendant was a likely suspect of the breaking and entering
and larceny. She told Deputy Owen that defendant moved to
Florida about one year ago, but she recently discovered he
was back in town, and heard someone had seen defendant on
Sugar Loaf Road. She reported that defendant was currently
renting a cabin at a nearby resort, The Adventure Village and
Lodgings (Adventure Village). She further stated that
defendant had worked for the McCalls around their farm about
one year ago and that, during that time, several tools and
equipment went missing from their farm. Although the McCalls
suspected defendant stole these items, they were never able
to prove it. Mrs. McCall also stated that immediately before
defendant moved to Florida, someone had broken into her
daughter's car and stolen approximately $1, 050.00.
December 2014, Mr. McCall called the TCSO and reported to
Deputy Owen that his son, Zach, had just observed defendant
driving in a "very slow manner" down Sugar Loaf
Road near the horse trailer. Mr. McCall stated that Zach
drove toward defendant in an attempt to make contact with
him, but defendant sped away and then turned into an
apartment complex. Zach followed and when he turned into the
complex, defendant sped away again, driving in a "very
unsafe manner and at high speeds" through residential
areas. Zach started to follow defendant again but stopped
when the speed of pursuit became dangerous. Mr. McCall
reported that Zach described defendant's truck as a grey
GMC with an extended cab and temporary plates, and that they
found the truck sitting "out of view" beside an
office building at Adventure Village. Mr. McCall stated
further that when defendant had worked on their farm, several
items went missing, and that the larcenies stopped when
defendant moved to Florida. Mr. McCall also reported that
part of his fence had been knocked over when the horse
trailer was broken into and entered, and that he observed a
"fresh dent" on the grey GMC truck he believed
belonged to defendant.
Owen subsequently confirmed with management at Adventure
Village that defendant was currently renting Cabin #1 and was
listed as the sole occupant on the lease. He discovered that
defendant asked for a refund for his rental on 24 December
2014 so he could return to Florida. Deputy Owen also
discovered a 1999 GMC Sierra Extended Cab Pickup Truck
displaying temporary tags, registered to defendant, and
parked "in an effort to be hidden behind the main office
out of view behind a back hoe" at Adventure Village.
When Deputy Owen examined the truck, he noticed a large and
apparently recent dent on its driver's side, and he
observed bullets on the driver's ...