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State v. Hankins

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, First Division

October 17, 2017

STATE OF MISSOURI, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
DAVID LEE HANKINS, Defendant-Appellant.

         APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF GREENE COUNTY Honorable Judge Calvin R. Holden

          MARY W. SHEFFIELD, P.J.

         David Lee Hankins ("Defendant") appeals one of his three convictions for first-degree child molestation following a bench trial. See § 566.067.1.[1] In one point on appeal, Defendant argues there was insufficient evidence that he touched the genitals of one of his victims, A.W. For the reasons that follow, the trial court's judgment is affirmed.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         On appeal, "[t]his Court views the evidence and all reasonable inferences derived therefrom in a light most favorable to the verdict and disregards any contrary evidence and inferences." State v. Lopez-McCurdy, 266 S.W.3d 874, 876 (Mo. App. S.D. 2008). So viewed, the following evidence was adduced at trial.

         S.H. ("Mother") testified that S.H., A.H., and A.W. are her daughters. S.H. was born in May 2003; A.H. was born in July 2006; and A.W. was born in September 2009. Mother met Defendant in early 2010, and moved in with him in June of the same year. Mother testified that A.H. referred to Defendant as "Dave-Dave, " and A.W. referred to him as either "Dave-Dave" or "Daddy." Mother identified Defendant in court as the same individual that the girls called either "Dave-Dave" or "Daddy."

         In March 2013, A.H. told Mother that "Dave-Dave" had "bad videos on his phone" of naked men and women "touching and kissing each other's private areas." Defendant made A.H. watch the videos one day after she had been sent home early from school due to an illness. A.H. told Mother that while they watched the videos, Defendant placed his hand down the back of her pants and touched her "private parts" with his fingers. Defendant moved out of the house immediately after A.H. made these disclosures to Mother.

         Mother called A.H.'s school counselor and law enforcement officials, and an appointment was scheduled for each of her daughters at the Child Advocacy Center ("CAC") in Springfield. A forensic interviewer from the CAC, Ashley Reece ("Reece"), testified that she spoke with all three girls in March 2013. S.H. did not make "a disclosure" to Reece, but A.H. and A.W. did. Reece's taped interviews with A.H. and A.W., State's Exhibits 1 and 2, were admitted into evidence at trial and have been deposited with this Court.[2]

         In A.H.'s CAC interview, A.H. (six years old at that time) told Reece that when she watches videos with Defendant, he "rubs" her "private, " which she demonstrated with a doll was the place between her legs, with his hand. Defendant played videos depicting a "big girl" and a "big boy" on his cellular phone; the girl was "sucking and rubbing" the boy's "private." A.H. also described an occasion where Defendant had put his hand inside her jeans and "rubbed" her while they waited in the car for Mother to get her nails done. Defendant covered A.H.'s lap with a blanket and asked her if his touch felt good, to which she responded, "No."

         Reece held a separate interview with A.W. (three years old at that time). During the interview, A.W. told Reece that "Dave-Dave" lived with her, and that she also referred to him as "Daddy." A.W. explained that "Dave-Dave" was a "grown-up." On an anatomically correct drawing of a female child, A.W. accurately identified the face, eyes, mouth, hair, "boobies, " belly button, back, legs, feet, and "butt."[3] However, A.W. identified the female genitalia area as her "body."[4] A.W. recalled that "Daddy" tickled her "body" and pointed to the representation of female genitalia on the drawing with the tip of a marker. When asked again by Reece where her "body" was, A.W. pointed to the representation of female genitalia with the tip of a marker. Reece then pointed to the crotch on the drawing and asked A.W. what Defendant tickled her "body" with; A.W. responded, "Fingers."

         A.W. also explained that it was "ok" if someone touched her belly button, but it was "not ok" if they touched her "body."[5] Immediately thereafter, Reece asked A.W. if anyone had touched her "body"; A.W. responded that "Dave-Dave did, " directed the tip of her marker to the crotch area on the drawing, and repeated that Dave-Dave had tickled her "body." A.W. stated that "Dave-Dave" had tickled her "body" at a time when she and "Dave-Dave" were at home alone. Reece asked A.W. if she had "any other daddy's." A.W. responded, "Dave-Dave."

         The State charged Defendant with three counts of first-degree child molestation. Counts 1 and 2 related to Defendant's sexual contact with A.H, while Count 3 related to sexual contact with A.W. Defendant waived his right to a jury and received a bench trial. The trial court found Defendant guilty and sentenced him to three concurrent terms of eight years' imprisonment. This appeal followed as to only the conviction for Count 3 regarding A.W.

         Standard of Review

         When reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence in a bench-tried case, this Court employs the same standard of review as in a jury-tried case. State v. Rousselo, 386 S.W.3d 919, 920 (Mo. App. S.D. 2012). That is, we "do not weigh the evidence but accept as true all evidence tending to prove guilt together with all reasonable inferences that support the verdict and ignore all contrary evidence and inferences." State v. Wooden, 388 S.W.3d 522, 527 (Mo. banc 2013). "[T]his Court's review is limited to determining whether sufficient evidence was admitted at trial from which a reasonable trier of fact could have found each element of the offense to have been established beyond a reasonable doubt." State v. Burrell, 160 S.W.3d 798, 801 (Mo. ...


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