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State v. Gaylord

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Second Division

June 20, 2017


         Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cass County, Missouri The Honorable William B. Collins, Judge.

          Before: Thomas H. Newton, P.J., James Edward Welsh, and Karen King Mitchell, JJ.


         Kelvin J. Gaylord appeals the circuit court's judgment, following a jury trial, convicting him of two counts of the class D felony of sexual contact with a prisoner, in violation of section 566.145, RSMo.[1] We affirm.


         Gaylord was charged by felony information with one count of first-degree rape or attempted rape, two counts of first-degree sodomy or attempted sodomy, armed criminal action, and three counts of sexual contact with a prisoner. Gaylord was tried before a Cass County jury.

         Viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, [2] the evidence at trial showed that, at the time of Gaylord's crimes, he was a deputy with the Henry County Sheriff's Office. As part of his job as a bailiff, Gaylord regularly transported prisoners to and from the county jail. Sheriff Kent Oberkrom, who is in charge of the jail, the bailiffs, and all patrol divisions, testified that, in 2014, Gaylord had transported prisoners from one jail to another jail on twenty-one occasions.

         On July 29, 2014, Gaylord was assigned to transport a female prisoner, whom we refer to as L.H., [3] from a jail in Jackson County to the Henry County Jail. Gaylord drove to Jackson County in a patrol vehicle that was equipped with patrol lights and the logo of the Henry County Sheriff's Office. He was wearing the uniform and badge of a Henry County Deputy and was equipped with a gun belt and gun. When Gaylord arrived in Jackson County, officers there shackled L.H.'s ankles and wrists, and Gaylord placed her in the back seat of his patrol vehicle.

         L.H. testified that, shortly after leaving, Gaylord pulled the vehicle over and moved her to the front seat, purportedly so he "could hear her better." Gaylord soon began to discuss his personal life with L.H. When he told her that other female prisoners had performed sex acts on him, L.H. felt that he was asking her to do the same. Gaylord made several more sexually explicit comments to L.H., and she could see that he was becoming visibly angry. Gaylord then turned off the highway onto an outer road. When he drove into what looked like a cornfield and stopped the vehicle, L.H. thought, "I am not getting out of here alive."

         L.H. told the jury that Gaylord got out of the vehicle, put his gun belt in the trunk, and then approached her with a gun in his hand. He began to graphically describe various sex acts that he was going to force L.H. to do, and he threatened to kill her if she did not comply. While holding the gun to L.H.'s head, Gaylord subjected her to the sex acts he had been describing. L.H. stated that Gaylord ejaculated into her vagina and mouth and on her hair and shirt, and she used a paper towel from his car to clean herself. Afterwards, Gaylord ordered L.H. to lift her shirt and use his cell phone to take a picture of her breasts. She complied.

         Deputy Laverna Dee Locke testified that she was working as a jailer when Gaylord brought L.H. into the Henry County Jail. Locke saw that L.H. was crying, shaking, and appeared disheveled, with her hair standing up. After Gaylord left the jail, L.H. told Locke that she had been sexually assaulted by Gaylord during transport. The jail administrator interviewed L.H. about her allegations, and then Deputy Locke drove her to Lee's Summit Hospital for a sexual assault exam. The examining nurse testified that she took swabs from various places on L.H.'s body for DNA testing. She told the jury that, during the exam, L.H. was "very upset, " "crying, " and "hysterical" and was afraid of being returned to the Henry County Jail.

         Sheriff Oberkrom testified that he questioned Gaylord about the allegations. Gaylord told him that he had moved L.H. to the front seat and later exited the highway and drove into a cornfield. Gaylord also admitted that, after putting his gun belt in the trunk, he received oral sex from L.H. He claimed that L.H. had offered to do so.

         The deputy assigned to investigate the matter spoke with L.H. twice and then interviewed Gaylord. Gaylord initially denied that anything sexual had happened with L.H. Later, when the deputy asked Gaylord how he ended up in this situation, Gaylord said that "he was weak" and "had a lot going on in his life." Following the interview, the deputy obtained a buccal swab from Gaylord for DNA testing. A video recording of that interview was played for the jury.

         After determining that the offense occurred in Cass County, Sheriff Oberkrom turned the investigation over to the Cass County Sheriff's Office. One Cass County detective obtained additional DNA buccal swabs from Gaylord. Another went to the crime scene, where he recovered a paper towel that the victim had used to clean herself after the assault. That paper towel matched a roll that Gaylord kept in his patrol car. At trial, two DNA criminalists testified that they ...

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