March 14, 2019
From Greenville County John C. Hayes, III, Circuit Court
Appellate Defender Kathrine Haggard Hudgins, of Columbia, for
Attorney General Alan McCrory Wilson, Deputy Attorney General
Donald J. Zelenka, and Senior Assistant Deputy Attorney
General John Benjamin Aplin, all of Columbia; Solicitor Barry
Joe Barnette and Assistant Solicitor Russell D. Ghent, both
of Spartanburg, for Respondent.
criminal case, Dean Alton Holcomb appeals his convictions for
breach of trust and obtaining money by false pretenses,
arguing the trial court erred in (1) failing to direct a
verdict of acquittal due to the State's failure to prove
a written check constitutes a trust relationship; (2) failing
to direct a verdict of acquittal due to the State's
failure to prove Holcomb made a fraudulent misrepresentation;
and (3) refusing to grant a mistrial based on remarks made by
the prosecution. We affirm in part, reverse in part, and
McGinn, Jr., lived in a house with his family in Greenville
County for almost twenty years. A hail storm damaged the home
around March or April of 2012. The damage to the house
amounted to $7, 180.99. McGinn's insurer, State Farm
Insurance Company, initially paid $4, 295.03. McGinn remained
eligible for up to an additional $1, 885.96 if the repairs
entered into a contract with Holcomb, the owner of Carolina
Home Renovators, on May 25, 2012, to replace the roof of the
house as well as make incidental repairs. McGinn selected a
green roof from Green Tree Metals to replace the old one. The
contract called for McGinn to initially pay Holcomb $4,
295.03 to begin the repairs and $2, 885.96 upon completion,
for a total cost of $7, 180.99. Four days after McGinn and
Holcomb signed the contract, McGinn wrote Holcomb a check in
the amount of $4, 295.03. Two days later, the funds were
withdrawn from McGinn's account.
to McGinn, Holcomb had other clients, Susan Clark and Kenneth
Clark (the Clarks), who also contracted with Holcomb to
replace their roof. The Clarks suffered a significant delay
in their roof being repaired, and it was only completed after
constant reminders from Kenneth Clark. On the same day McGinn
paid Holcomb, Holcomb finally ordered the roof for the
Clarks' home. Holcomb replaced the Clarks' roof in
late June 2012.
never installed a new roof on McGinn's house. Holcomb
completed some minor repairs, including staining the deck and
sides of the house and painting the doors and windows.
However, McGinn understood the substance of the contract to
be for the roof repair. One of Holcomb's employees, Jared
Richardson, also understood McGinn hired Holcomb to install a
new roof. Holcomb never contacted McGinn to explain why he
did not repair the roof.
jury indicted Holcomb for obtaining property or money by
false pretenses-greater than $2, 000. He was subsequently
indicted for breach of trust more than $2, 000. At trial,
Holcomb moved for directed verdicts on both charges, which
the trial court denied. During closing arguments, Holcomb
objected to two comments by the solicitor, and the trial
court sustained both objections. Holcomb subsequently moved
for a mistrial due to the remarks, and the trial court denied
the motions. The jury convicted Holcomb of both counts, and
the trial court sentenced him concurrently to five years'
imprisonment for each count. This appeal followed.
criminal cases, the appellate court sits to review errors of
law only." State v. Baccus, 367 S.C. 41, 48,
625 S.E.2d 216, 220 (2006). Thus, an appellate court "is
bound by the trial court's factual ...