Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Second Division
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.
EDWARD WELSH, JUDGE.
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. We affirm.
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.
in the light most favorable to the verdict,  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
29, 2014, Gaylord was assigned to transport a female
prisoner, whom we refer to as L.H.,  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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ...