Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Williams

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Third Division

November 1, 2016

STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent,
v.
DEON A. WILLIAMS, Appellant.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis Honorable Timothy J. Wilson

          OPINION

          Angela T. Quigless, P.J.

         Deon A. Williams ("Williams") appeals the circuit court's judgment convicting him of attempted forcible rape, two counts of sodomy in the first degree, two counts of attempted sodomy in the first degree, and two counts of incest, and sentencing him to eighteen years' incarceration. We correct a clerical error in the judgment, which incorrectly classified Williams as a prior and persistent offender, and we affirm the sentence and judgment as modified.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         The facts established at trial and viewed in the light most favorable to the judgment are as follows: Williams sexually abused his biological daughter, G.W., multiple times when she was twelve or thirteen years old. The abuse started after G.W. moved out of her mother's home and went to live with Williams at a house on Plover. Williams lived on Plover with his two daughters, G.W. and D.W., and his mother, the girls' grandmother.

         At trial, the evidence established four separate incidents of inappropriate touching by Williams. The first incident occurred when G.W. was in bed trying to go to sleep because she had school in the morning. Williams came into the room and told G.W. to turn around. When she turned around, Williams' exposed penis was in her face. He then grabbed her head, forced his penis into her mouth, and made her perform oral sex on him. Williams then climbed on top of G.W., started taking her nightgown off, and tried to put his penis inside her vagina. Williams' penis touched her thighs, but he was unable to penetrate her. G.W. tried to stop her father by kicking him, but he did not stop until he heard the grandmother knock on the door. As Williams left the room, he told G.W., "Don't tell nobody."

         The second incident occurred later that year when G.W. was still twelve or thirteen years old. G.W. was again in bed one night, and Williams put his fingers inside her vagina. In order to get away, G.W. got up and went to the bathroom. She then went to sleep with her grandmother instead of returning to her bed. There was evidence that this was not the first time Williams put his fingers in his daughter's vagina. G.W. testified this happened about "half the time I was living with him until I said something about it."

         After these initial incidents of abuse, Williams and his daughters moved in with his girlfriend.[1] They lived there until Williams and his girlfriend got into a fight, and Williams put his girlfriend's head in the toilet. Thereafter, Williams and his daughters moved back to the house on Plover. About two weeks after that, Williams tried to put his fingers in G.W.'s vagina ("third incident"). It is unclear whether he was successful. Then, the next day, Williams tried to put his fingers in her vagina again, but she stopped him ("fourth incident").

         After the fourth incident, G.W. told her sister, D.W., about the abuse. D.W. encouraged her to tell their grandmother. The grandmother said she would watch Williams more carefully to see if anything was happening, but she did not call the police or tell the girls' mother about the abuse.

         Eventually, D.W. called their mother and told her about the abuse. The mother immediately intervened, and the police got involved. G.W. was taken to the hospital where she was examined and interviewed by a social worker. G.W. was also taken to the Children's Advocacy Center where she was interviewed by a forensic interview specialist who specialized in childhood sexual abuse.

         G.W. did not report the abuse earlier because Williams told her not to tell anyone, and she was scared of him. Williams also threatened to kill G.W.'s mother if G.W. ever told her about the abuse. G.W. believed her father's threats because "[h]e would just be crazy every time he was drunk, [he would] hit us and stuff [and] take out all his anger on us for no reason." Williams often beat his daughters when he drank.

         Williams was arrested and indicted on seven felony counts: Count I, attempted forcible rape, in violation of section 566.030;[2] Counts II and V, statutory sodomy in the first degree for penis-to-mouth contact, in violation of section 566.062; Counts III and VI, statutory sodomy for hands-to-genitals contact, in violation of section 566.062; and Counts IV and VII, incest, in violation of section 558.011. The State filed a Substitute Information in Lieu of Indictment ("Substitute Information"), adding the phrase "a second time" at the end of Counts V, VI, and VII to indicate they were based on separate incidents from Counts II, III, and IV. Prior to trial, the court discussed these changes, noting "the State has slightly adjusted some of the wording" in the Substitute Information. The court stated, "I don't believe this changes anything as far as what the defendant was on notice of what he was facing [sic]." Defense counsel agreed with the court and made no objection. Williams never requested a bill of particulars.

         Williams waived his right to a jury trial, and the case proceeded to trial before the court. The State presented the testimony of G.W., D.W., and five other witnesses. The prosecution argued that G.W. was credible, her testimony was consistent, and it proved that Williams was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Williams argued there was insufficient evidence to convict because G.W.'s testimony was not corroborated, that G.W. was a liar inventing "incredible stories with a lot of inconsistencies" that could not possibly be true, and that G.W. was actually abused by another man she lived with previously, but accusing her father instead to get out of living with him. Williams did not testify.

         During trial, Williams moved for a judgment of acquittal at the close of the State's evidence, and renewed this motion at the close of all the evidence. His sole argument in both motions was that the evidence was insufficient to convict him of the charges.

         The court found G.W. credibly testified to four separate incidents of abuse. The first incident, Williams put his penis in G.W.'s mouth and then attempted to rape her. The second incident, Williams put his fingers in G.W.'s vagina. The third and fourth incidents, Williams attempted to put his fingers in G.W.'s vagina after they returned to the house on Plover. The court convicted Williams of Counts I, II, III, IV, and VII as charged, and convicted Williams on Counts V and VI of the lesser-included offense of attempted sodomy. Williams filed a motion for new trial, arguing only that the court erred in denying the earlier motions for acquittal. The court denied the motion.

         The Substitute Information classified Williams as a prior and persistent offender, listing seven prior felony convictions. The State failed to introduce evidence of these prior convictions during the trial. The trial court did not make findings that Williams was a prior and persistent offender.

         Prior to sentencing, the court ordered a Sentencing Assessment Report ("SAR"), [3] which detailed Williams' criminal history, including the seven prior felonies identified by the State in the Substitute Information. The court made the SAR available to the parties. Defense counsel asked the court to follow the SAR's recommendation and impose a sentence of "somewhere around fifteen years, " arguing that "due to the nature of the charges and [Williams'] background, fifteen years would be a reasonable sentence."

         The Court sentenced Williams to the following terms of imprisonment: Count I (attempted forcible rape), fourteen years; Counts II and III (statutory sodomy), fourteen years on each count; Count IV (incest), four years; Counts V and VI (attempted statutory sodomy), fourteen years on each count; Count VII (incest), four years. All sentences were concurrent except for Count IV, which was consecutive, making the aggregate sentence eighteen years. On the judgment form, the court checked the boxes indicating that Williams was found guilty as a prior and persistent offender, in violation of section 558.016. This appeal follows.

         POINTS ON APPEAL

         Williams raises four points on appeal. In point one, Williams argues that the trial court erred in finding him guilty on Counts V (attempted sodomy), VI (attempted sodomy), and VII (incest) because the Substitute Information did not contain sufficient detail to put him on notice of the charges against him, which violated his right to due process. In points two and three, Williams argues that the trial court erred in admitting evidence of uncharged misconduct involving D.W. and Williams' girlfriend. In point four, Williams argues that the trial court plainly erred in classifying him as a prior and persistent offender in the absence of sufficient ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.