Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Third Division
Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Louis County. Hon. Thea A. Sherry.
FOR APPELLANT: Matthew A. Radefeld, Clayton, MO.
FOR RESPONDENT: Chris Koster, Attorney General, Adam S. Rowley, Asst. Attorney General, Jefferson City, MO.
ROBERT G. DOWD, JR., Judge. Kurt S. Odenwald, P.J. and Gary M. Gaertner, Jr., J., concur.
ROBERT G. DOWD, JR.,
Michael Jackson (" Defendant" ) appeals from the judgment upon his conviction of two counts of first-degree statutory sodomy, Section 566.062. Defendant contends the trial court erred in: (1) failing to grant Defendant's motion for judgment of acquittal at the close of the State's case because the State failed to present a submissible case; (2) allowing the transcript of the Child Advocacy Center video into evidence; and (3) excluding Defendant's Exhibit B from the evidence. We affirm.
The State filed a complaint charging Defendant with eight counts of first-degree statutory sodomy. The victim testified at trial that Defendant, her uncle, touched her vagina with his fingers and a vibrator and would also insert his fingers in her vagina on multiple occasions beginning when she was in fourth grade. The victim also testified she did not tell anyone because she thought she would be in trouble. However, after a few years, when the victim was in ninth grade, she eventually told her friends about the touching, which was still occurring. Thereafter she also told her mother about the situation. The victim then gave a statement at the police station and was also interviewed by Connilee Christie at the Child Advocacy Center.
Subsequently, the State filed a notice of its intent to use the child victim's statements under Section 491.075. Defendant filed an objection to the admission of hearsay statements pursuant to Section 491.075.
Before trial, the trial court held a Section 491.075 hearing. At the hearing, Officer Steve Michael testified the victim came to the police station where he interviewed her and she told him Defendant had penetrated her vagina with his fingers numerous times while she tried to sleep. The victim's mother also testified how the victim told her about Defendant touching her vagina. Christie also testified about the interview she conducted with the victim, wherein the victim told her how Defendant touched her vagina several times, beginning when she was nine years old and continuing until she was thirteen years old. Christie's interview was recorded on a DVD, which was provided to the court. The trial court found the State would be permitted to introduce the statements made by the victim to Officer Michael, her mother, and Christie.
The State then filed an amended notice of its intent to use the child victim's statements under Section 491.075. The trial court subsequently held a second Section 491.075 hearing, allowing the State to present the testimony of the victim's friends from middle school. They testified the victim told them about Defendant touching her vagina while she was trying to sleep. The trial court granted the amended motion, finding statements made by the victim to her friends were admissible.
At trial, Defendant filed a motion for judgment of acquittal at the close of the State's evidence and at the close of all the evidence. Both of these motions were denied. The jury found Defendant guilty of two counts of first-degree statutory sodomy and not guilty of two counts.
Defendant filed a motion for judgment of acquittal or, in the alternative, for a new trial. This motion was denied. Defendant was sentenced to fifteen years of imprisonment on one count and a concurrent ten years on the other. This appeal follows.
In his first point, Defendant argues the trial court erred in failing to grant Defendant's motion for judgment of acquittal at the close of the State's case because the State failed to present a submissible case in that the testimony of the victim was contradictory and in conflict with physical facts. As a result, Defendant contends the victim's testimony required corroboration, which was never presented. We disagree.
We review the denial of a motion for judgment of acquittal to determine if the State made a submissible case by presenting sufficient evidence. State v. Hill,408 S.W.3d 820, 822 (Mo. App. E.D. 2013). When reviewing a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the verdict, giving the State the benefit of all reasonable inferences. Id. Our review is limited to determining whether there is sufficient evidence from which a reasonable juror could find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Id. We accept as true all evidence favorable to the State and disregard all evidence to the contrary. Id. Reasonable inferences can be drawn from both direct and circumstantial evidence. Id ...