STATE v. LESLIE RUSSELL, AC 26026
Judicial District of Danbury
Criminal; Whether the Evidence was Sufficient to Convict the Defendant of Stalking, Violation of a Protective Order and Burglary. The defendant was convicted of two counts of third degree stalking, two counts of criminal violation of a protective order and second degree burglary. The victim was the defendant's former girlfriend. In February, 2003, the victim observed an individual looking into a window in her home. The police found a car, which was registered to the defendant, on a nearby road. The next morning, when the police found the defendant in a disoriented state in a commuter lot, he claimed that the last thing that he remembered was being in his car on that road. He also admitted that he drove or walked by the victim's home several times a day and that she did not know that he did so. Later, in October, 2003, the victim, who was a girl scout leader, was camping with her troop. The defendant entered her campsite and offered two of the troop leaders a bag of tomatoes and conversed with them for a short time. One of the leaders notified the victim of the defendant's presence, and she was able to avoid any contact with him. Then, in January, 2004, a video surveillance camera that the victim had installed in her home showed that an individual, whom the victim believed to be the defendant, had been in the home while she was not there. In this appeal from his convictions, the defendant claims that there was insufficient evidence to support his convictions. As to the stalking convictions, the defendant claims that the state failed to prove the essential elements of the crime that he was "wilfully and repeatedly following or laying in wait" for the victim and that he caused her to "fear for [her] physical safety." As to the convictions for criminal violation of a protective order, the defendant claims that the state failed to prove its allegations that the defendant violated the orders by stalking the victim or by coming within 100 yards of her. As to the burglary conviction, the defendant claims that the state failed to prove the essential element of the crime that the defendant entered the victim's home "with the intent to commit a crime therein." In that regard, the defendant argues that the crime that the state alleged that he intended to commit was violation of a protective order, which he claims could only have been violated by an illegal entry, or a trespass, and that trespass cannot serve as the crime supporting a burglary conviction. Finally, the defendant claims that there was insufficient evidence of his identity as the individual that entered into the victim's home.