Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, Second Division
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF PHELPS COUNTY Honorable William E.
IN PART, REVERSED IN PART, AND REMANDED WITH INSTRUCTIONS.
WILLIAM W. FRANCIS, JR., J.
Rubin Bruce ("Bruce"), appeals the judgment of the
trial court following his convictions for the unclassified
felony of first-degree rape, two unclassified felonies of
first-degree sodomy, the class B felony of first-degree
burglary, and the class C felony of felonious restraint.
Bruce challenges the judgment of the trial court in two
points on appeal. Finding no merit to Bruce's first
point, but finding merit to Bruce's second point, we
modify and affirm the judgment of the trial court.
and Procedural Background
does not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence to support
his convictions and we recite only those facts necessary to
review his points on appeal. We view the evidence in the
light most favorable to the judgment, accepting as true all
facts and inferences favorable to the judgment, and
disregarding evidence and inferences to the contrary.
State v. Burks, 373 S.W.3d 1, 4 (Mo.App. S.D. 2012).
The evidence adduced at trial is recited in accordance with
November 7, 2014, Bruce surreptitiously entered Victim's
residence while Victim was taking a shower. Bruce tied up
Victim with shoestrings, then sexually assaulted her. Bruce
untied Victim and forced her to sign-off of a computer
video-chat that, unbeknownst to Bruce, had been running with
Victim's boyfriend. After Victim complied, Bruce tied her
up again, put her in a closet, and ransacked Victim's
home. Victim asked what Bruce was looking for. When Bruce
said he was looking for Victim's car keys, Victim offered
to help find them. Bruce untied Victim and they both
unsuccessfully searched for the keys. Bruce again tied Victim
up, shoving clothing in her mouth so she could not speak, and
shut her in a closet and then a bathroom. Eventually, Bruce
untied Victim. He said that if she told anyone what he had
done, he would kill her. Then Bruce left.
authorities were notified, and Victim identified Bruce as her
attacker. Sergeant Frank Hawkins ("Sgt. Hawkins")
responded to the scene. After speaking with Victim, Sgt.
Hawkins went across the street to Bruce's home, where he
found Bruce sitting on the hood of his car. Bruce claimed he
did not know Victim, but said he would be willing to talk to
a detective at the police station, and that he would drive
police station, Detective Adam Meyer ("Detective
Meyer") met Bruce when he arrived. Detective Meyer
introduced himself, and asked if Bruce would accompany him
back to an interview room, which Bruce agreed to do. Bruce
initially denied that he had ever spoken with Victim, and
also denied having ever engaged in sexual conduct with
Detective Meyer asked Bruce about whether his DNA or hair
might be at Victim's home, Bruce admitted to meeting
Victim. He suggested they had met when Victim was walking her
dog, and that the two had engaged in "some type of
sexual relations" in Victim's apartment. Detective
Meyer asked Bruce why he had not been truthful from the
beginning, and Bruce said he did not want his wife to find
out what he had done with Victim. Detective Meyer indicated
that he would not tell Bruce's wife. Bruce then gave a
more detailed account of, by Bruce's account, consensual
sexual acts he and Victim engaged in at Victim's
apartment. These acts, Bruce alleged, did not include vaginal
sex or oral sex.
Meyer and Bruce took a break so that Detective Meyer could
get some water and Bruce could smoke a cigarette. Detective
Meyer went outside with Bruce while he smoked, and then the
two returned to the interview room. Bruce told Detective
Meyer that he wanted to leave. Detective Meyer told Bruce
that he could not leave, placed him under arrest, and read
him his Miranda rights. Bruce said he understood his
rights, and agreed to speak further with Detective Meyer. He
indicated that he was at Victim's house in the late
evening a few days before the assault, but denied going to
Victim's house on the day of the assault.
evidence showed that Victim's DNA was found on
Bruce's boxer shorts the day he was interviewed, and that
Bruce's DNA was on Victim's body the day of the
the close of evidence, instructions, and argument by counsel,
the jury found Bruce guilty of first-degree rape, two counts
of first-degree sodomy, first-degree burglary, and felonious
restraint. Having found Bruce to be a prior offender, the
trial court sentenced Bruce to three life sentences on each
of the rape and sodomy counts, fifteen years on the burglary