CHRISTOPHER JOE POWELL
STATE OF ARKANSAS
JANUARY 17, 2007
APPEAL FROM THE DREW COUNTY
HON. SAMUEL B. POPE,
ROBERT J. GLADWIN, Judge
Appellant Christopher Joe Powell appeals his conviction in the Drew County Circuit
Court for theft of property and computer fraud. Appellant claims that the trial court erred
in asserting jurisdiction over this matter, contending that all elements of the offenses charged
occurred outside the territorial jurisdiction of Arkansas. We affirm.
Appellant, a resident of Georgia, met Vanneise Collins, a resident of Drew County,
Arkansas, on an internet website for singles. Over the course of several months, the two
engaged in lengthy e-mail and telephone communications, striking up a romance. The
romance culminated in three face-to-face meetings in Georgia, and ultimately, a marriage
proposal. Throughout the course of their romance, appellant made certain representations
about himself that proved to be wholly fabricated, such as his being unmarried, being in the
army, and being deployed in Iraq during portions of the time he and Collins were in contact.
Collins made concrete marriage plans, such as putting a deposit down on a wedding dress
and mailing out wedding invitations. All the while, Collins sent appellant money when he
asked, via Western Union, for a variety of reasons, including new golf clubs, property taxes
on inherited property, medical bills, a new military dress uniform, and to “grease palms”
while being separated from his unit in Iraq. Appellant obtained about $15,000 from Collins.
When she began to doubt him, she verified that there was no record of him being in the
military and eventually went to the police.
It is undisputed that appellant never entered the State of Arkansas until such time as
he was arrested and transported to Arkansas to answer the criminal charges of theft and
computer fraud in Drew County. He challenged Arkansas’ exercise of jurisdiction over hi