Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, First Division
FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF GREENE COUNTY Honorable Calvin R.
W. LYNCH, J.]
a bench trial, the trial court found Jimmy Ross Scott
("Defendant") guilty of the statutory rape and
statutory sodomy of G.P. ("Victim"), see
sections 566.034 and 566.064, respectively. The trial court
sentenced Defendant to five years' imprisonment in the
Department of Corrections on each offense with the sentences
to run concurrently. On appeal, Defendant argues in his sole
point that the trial court abused its discretion in admitting
State's Exhibit 4, a bed sheet, "because there was
an insufficient foundation for the admission of this
exhibit[.]" Finding no merit in Defendant's point,
we affirm his convictions.
and Procedural Background
does not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence to support
his convictions. We, therefore, limit our recitation of the
evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the finding
of guilt, State v. Taylor, 298 S.W.3d 482, 491 (Mo.
banc 2009), only to those facts necessary to resolve
was the live-in boyfriend of Victim's mother. At night,
Victim would awaken to Defendant sexually assaulting her.
Victim reported the assaults on August 19, 2011. Lieutenant
Eric Reece with the Springfield Police Department testified
that he was assigned the case on August 19, 2011, and
immediately responded to Victim's home address in order
to avoid losing potential evidence. Lieutenant Reece
collected a sheet, pillowcases, clothing, a tissue, a
cigarette butt, and a towel from Victim's bedroom in the
home. Lieutenant Reece did not collect anything from any
other room in the home. He placed the sheet in a bag and
sealed it. The sheet was tested for DNA and then admitted
into evidence as State's Exhibit 4 over Defendant's
objection. Allison Unthank, a forensic scientist, tested the
sheet's stains for bodily fluids, and one stain's
test was consistent with semen. The DNA profile concluded
that the source of that stain was "consistent with the
profile developed from [Defendant.]" The report of the
laboratory test results for the sheet was admitted into
evidence as State's Exhibit 9 after Defendant's
counsel announced "[n]o objection."
trial court found Defendant guilty on each count and
sentenced Defendant as set forth above. Defendant timely
admission of evidence is reviewed for abuse of discretion and
disturbed only when the decision is 'clearly against the
logic of the circumstances.'" State v.
Taylor, 298 S.W.3d 482, 491 (Mo. banc 2009) (quoting
State v. Reed, 282 S.W.3d 835, 837 (Mo. banc 2009)).
"Reversal due to an evidentiary error requires a showing
of prejudice." Taylor, 298 S.W.3d at 492.
"Prejudice exists when 'there is a reasonable
probability that the trial court's error affected the
outcome of the trial.'" Id. (quoting
State v. Forrest, 183 S.W.3d 218, 224 (Mo. banc
point relied on states:
The trial court abused its discretion in admitting over
[Defendant's] objection state's exhibits [sic] four,
a bed sheet, because there was an insufficient foundation for
the admission of this exhibit and its admission violated
[Defendant's] rights to due process and a fair trial
guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to the United States
Constitution and Article I, § 10 of the Missouri
Constitution, in that Lieutenant Reece's testimony did
not establish the source of the exhibit or whether it was the
same item that he believed he collected from [Victim's]
bed, which called into question whether it was [Victim's]
sheet, and the evidence that [Defendant's] DNA was found
on the sheet was extremely prejudicial.[
admit an exhibit, the trial court must be satisfied as to the
identity of the exhibit. State v. Bowman, 337 S.W.3d
679, 689 (Mo. banc 2011). This may be proven by evidence
establishing a chain of custody. Id. "However,
when an exhibit is identified positively at trial, chain of
custody evidence no longer is required to prove that an item
produced at trial is the item taken into custody as
evidence." Id. Moreover, "[a]ny weaknesses
in a witness's visual identification is a proper subject
of cross-examination and may be considered by the [finder of
fact] in assessing the weight of the evidence."
Lieutenant Reece testified on direct examination that
[w]e went into [Victim's] bedroom, which was described
where it was at in the house. I collected a sheet that was on
the bed, a towel, a tissue from the trash can, a cigarette
butt, the pillowcases, and then some kind of miscellaneous
clothing of hers that was laying on or around the bed.
further testified he did not collect anything from any other
room in the home and he bagged the sheet from the bed in
Victim's bedroom ...