Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Fifth Division
from the Circuit Court of Franklin County 14AB-CR02176
Honorable Gael D. Wood
M. Dowd, Chief Judge.
Dean Edwards appeals the judgment entered upon his conviction
following a jury trial in the Circuit Court of Franklin
County of three counts of first-degree statutory sodomy and
one count of incest. Edwards was sentenced to a total of 34
years in prison. In three points on appeal, Edwards claims
(1) the trial court erred because there was insufficient
evidence to convict him on Count II of first-degree statutory
sodomy; (2) the court abused its discretion by allowing an
older sister of the victim, K.W., to testify about what
Victim told her about Edwards's sexual abuse of Victim;
and (3) the court abused its discretion by allowing the State
to introduce evidence of his prior misdemeanor conviction of
first-degree sexual misconduct. Finding no reversible error,
and Procedural Background.
review some of the disturbing facts of this case in order to
dispose of Edwards's claims of error. Between summer 2004
and summer 2008-during which period Victim was between the
ages of seven and eleven-Edwards in various ways sexually
violated, abused, and preyed on Victim in Warrenton, Missouri
at the home where Edwards, Victim, Victim's mother, and
Victim's sisters lived. Edwards committed these acts when
he was home alone with Victim, before Victim's mother
arrived home from work.
during summer 2007, one of Victim's older sisters
("Victim's sister") came home early from her
job and abruptly opened the front door to the home to find
Edwards in what appeared to be the act of abusing Victim.
Edwards quickly shut the door in her face. Nearly seven years
later, in January 2014, Victim's sister asked Victim to
explain what was happening that day. Victim told her sister
that Edwards was abusing her, and provided her with an
account of what happened that day which is discussed in
further detail below.
April 14, 2014, when Victim was 16 years old, she and her
sister reported Edwards's abuse of Victim to the police.
Subsequently, Victim was interviewed at the Child Advocacy
Center ("CAC"), an anti-child-abuse non-profit.
Some of the information she provided during her CAC interview
and in a deposition differed from her testimony at trial. At
trial, Victim recounted the acts of abuse referenced above,
among others, and described in detail two incidents where
Edwards forced her to perform oral sex on him, one of which
she had discussed in depth during her CAC interview.
Victim's sister also testified at trial, relating
Victim's January 2014 statements to her about the abuse.
On the basis of this evidence, together with other evidence,
Edwards was convicted of all four charged offenses. This
appeal follows. Further details are provided below.
I: The Sufficiency of the Evidence on Count
first point on appeal, Edwards contends that there was
insufficient evidence to convict him on Count IPs charge of
first-degree statutory sodomy. We disagree.
review a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence only to
determine whether the State introduced sufficient evidence at
trial for a reasonable juror to have found that each element
of the offense was established beyond a reasonable doubt.
State v. Bateman, 318 S.W.3d681, 687 (Mo.banc 2010).
We accept as true all evidence and reasonable inferences
favorable to the verdict, disregarding contrary evidence and
inferences, unless they are such a natural and logical
extension of the evidence that a reasonable juror would be
unable to disregard them. State v. Whalen, 49 S.W.3d
181, 184 (Mo.banc 2001). We give great deference to the trier
of fact and do not act as a "super juror" with veto
powers. State v. Feldt, 512 S.W.3d 135, 156
(Mo.App.E.D. 2017). But where the act constituting the crime
is specified in the charge, the State is held to proof of
that act, and the defendant may be convicted only on the
basis of that act. State v. Armstrong, 863 S.W.2d
374, 377 (Mo.App.E.D. 1993) (citing State v. Edsall,
781 S.W.2d 561, 564 (Mo.App.S.D. 1989)). Additionally, we
presume that the jury followed the instructions. State v.
Madison, 997 S.W.2d 16, 21 (Mo.banc 1999).
in the second amended information and according to the trial
court's instructions, Count II charged that between July
1, 2004 and June 30, 2008, Edwards had Victim perform oral
sex on him and told her that it was a game. During jury
deliberations, the jury asked the trial court whether, to
convict on Count II, it had to believe that the
"game" happened, or just that Edwards committed
sexually deviant acts. The court told the jury to be guided
by the instructions.
on these facts, Edwards claims that the jury convicted him on
Count II without sufficient evidence. Edwards compares this
case to State v. Jacltson, 896 S.W.2d 77, 82-83
(Mo.App.W.D. 1995), in which the Western District concluded
that because particular charges against the defendant
specified that the offenses occurred in the bathroom of a
residence, the defendant could not be convicted of those
offenses based on evidence that they were committed in the
bedroom of the residence. In that case, there was
therefore no evidence in the record that the defendant
committed the specific act charged.
Jackson distinguishable. Jackson marks an
exception to the general rule found in such cases as
State v. Nelson, 334 S.W.3d 189, 197 (Mo.App.W.D.
2011), that where the act proven falls within the statutory
definition of the offense and the charging document informs
the accused of that charge, inclusion of the details of the
commission of that offense is mere surplusage that the State
is not required to prove. In Jackson, 896 S.W.2d at
83, the court observed that while generally it is not
necessary to prove the location where the offense occurred,
where the location is "significant for purposes of
identifying and distinguishing between the numerous incidents
of sodomy, " proof of that charged detail may be
required. Specifically, proof of a charged detail that would
otherwise be considered mere surplusage in the charging
document must be presented if, without proof of the detail,
the State would present evidence not of the charged offense,
but only of what "appears to be a separate
offense." Id., But that did not happen here.
case, the State presented evidence of the three charged
first-degree statutory sodomy offenses, but not of any
separate offenses that might reasonably need to be
distinguished from those charged. The evidence showed Edwards
forced Victim to participate in the single charged incident
of anal sex, and two incidents of oral sex performed by
Victim on Edwards. Victim testified she could remember
"[m]aybe two" occurrences of the latter sort of
incident. The first, she said, involved Edwards telling her
the oral sex was a "fever reducer" for him. When
asked about the second incident, Victim first stated it was
"kind of blurry, " and that she could not recall
anything specific Edwards said during it. Subsequently,
however, Victim testified Edwards suggested they "play a
game" called "hide the sausage, " and ...