PIERRE | The South Dakota Supreme Court said Thursday that Christopher Martin knew he illegally possessed a controlled drug when a Rapid City police officer arrested Martin on Sept. 15, 2015, with 23 oxycodone pills in his pocket.
The officer found an abandoned vehicle that Martin, of Rapid City, reported stolen. When Martin arrived at the vehicle’s location, the officer arrested Martin on an outstanding warrant.
During the arrest search, officer Eric Holmquist found the opioids, as well as ten $100 bills and a combination of smaller denominations.
The oxycodone tablets were wrapped in cigarette-pack cellophane.
Martin later told a police detective that a woman he knew had dropped the drugs in a pickup truck he was driving and he picked them up without knowing what they were.
The woman, however, said Martin rode a motorcycle to her house.
She had a prescription for oxycodone. She was on probation for attempting to obtain more oxycodone by calling in a renewal. She denied giving or selling the oxycodone found on Martin. She had given Martin a key to her home.
A Pennington County jury convicted Martin. Circuit Judge Wally Eklund denied Martin’s motions for acquittal. Martin acknowledged in his appeal that he possessed the drugs but argued the evidence wasn’t sufficient to prove he knew he possessed oxycodone.
The Supreme Court’s five justices unanimously affirmed Martin’s conviction.
“When viewed cumulatively and taken in a light most favorable to the jury’s verdict, there was sufficient evidence and inferences therefrom for a rational jury to have found that Martin knew the pills he possessed were a controlled substance,” Justice Steven Zinter wrote.