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McClellion v. State

Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals

November 21, 2014

Whitney K. McClellion
v.
State of Alabama

Released for Publication July 15, 2015.

Appeal from Autauga Circuit Court. (CC-12-266). Sibley G. Reynolds, Trial Judge.

For Appellant: Kimberly Paige Kervin, Prattville.

For Appellee: Luther Strange, atty. gen., and Laura I. Cuthbert, asst. atty. gen.

BURKE, Judge. Windom, P.J., and Welch, Kellum, and Joiner, JJ., concur.

OPINION

Page 382

BURKE, Judge.

Whitney K. McClellion appeals her convictions for four counts of unlawfully breaking and entering a vehicle, violations of § 13A-8-11, Ala. Code 1975, one count of theft of property in the second degree, a violation of § 13A-8-4, Ala. Code 1975, and three counts of theft of property in the third degree, violations of § 13A-8-5, Ala. Code 1975.

McClellion was originally indicted on 15 counts of unlawfully breaking and entering a vehicle, 8 counts of theft in the second degree, 6 counts of theft in the third degree, 1 count of criminal mischief in the second degree, and 1 count of the attempt to unlawfully breaking and entering a vehicle. Before McClellion's trial, the State moved to dismiss 21 counts; the circuit court granted that motion. At the conclusion of the State's evidence, the State moved to dismiss two additional counts, McClellion was found guilty as to each of the 8 remaining counts, and the circuit court granted that motion.

The State presented evidence at trial that indicated the following. In September 2012, Kathy Dooley noticed that someone had broken into her car and that " many things that were in the car were missing." (R. 21.) The missing items included a white purse, a makeup bag, a pistol, a scarf, and some prescription medicine bottles. Dooley had not given anyone permission to enter her car or to take the missing items. Dooley was a real-estate agent and also kept T-shirts bearing her advertising logo in her car. She gave the T-shirts to clients who had used her agency to purchase or to sell real estate. Also in September 2012, Jessica Howell and her husband, Benton Howell, noticed that someone had broken into, and had taken items out of, their vehicles. The items taken from the Howells vehicles included Benton's briefcase, a " brown book of DVDs and a bottle of tanning lotion and some tanning goggles." (R. 37.) Neither of the Howells had given anyone permission to enter their vehicles or to take the missing items.

Lieutenant Steven Adams, an investigator with the Autauga County Sheriff's Office, received a telephone call reporting the fraudulent use of a credit card at the Key West Inn Motel (" the Key West" ) in Millbrook. Lieutenant Adams went to the Key West and learned that Room 109 had

Page 383

been rented to Jeremy Holley[1] for the nights of September 16-18, 2012. The payment for the nights of September 16 and 17 had been made with McClellion's MasterCard credit card; the payment for the night of September 18 had been made with the MasterCard of Donald Dempsey, the man who had reported the fraudulent use of his credit card. The motel registration indicated that Holley and McClellion had been staying in the room the first two nights and that Holley and Dempsey had been staying there on the last night. The desk clerk allowed Lt. Adams to enter room 109, and Lieutenant Adams, who was aware of thefts from vehicles in Autauga County, observed many items inside the room. Because the Key West is in Elmore County, Lieutenant Adams contacted an Elmore County law-enforcement officer, who obtained a search warrant for Room 109.

After obtaining the search warrant, law-enforcement officers entered the room and found, among other things, items that had been taken during the thefts from the Dooley and Howell vehicles. Men's and women's items were found in the room. On a bedside table, Lt. Adams found a piece of paper on which McClellion's name had been written. At his office, Lt. Adams used the memory card from a camera that had been found in Room 109 and found a photograph that contained information identifying a woman named Rachel Boles. Lieutenant Adams contacted Boles, who checked her car, which was the last place she had seen her camera, and found that her camera was missing. Boles, who lived within the ...


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