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State v. Lewis

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Western District, Second Division

September 3, 2019

STATE OF MISSOURI, Respondent,
v.
BRIAN T. LEWIS, Appellant.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri Honorable Patrick William Campbell, Judge.

          Before: Lisa White Hardwick, P.J., Thomas H. Newton, and Mark D. Pfeiffer, JJ.

          Thomas H. Newton, Judge.

         Summary

         Mr. Brian T. Lewis appeals the judgment and sentence entered by the Jackson County Circuit Court after a jury convicted him of two counts of incest, in violation of section 568.020 RSMo. (Supp. 2006). Mr. Lewis is currently serving a 28 year term of imprisonment. Mr. Lewis contends that the trial court erred in: (1) finding him guilty and sentencing him on both counts of incest because the evidence was insufficient to support the convictions; and (2) misstating Mr. Lewis's sentence in its written judgment. We affirm and remand with directions for the trial court to correct the written judgment as to the sentences.

         Factual and Procedural Background

         At age 3 the victim told her cousin that her father, Mr. Lewis, had sexually abused her. In 2015, when the victim was six years old she told her grandmother that her father peed in her mouth. Unfortunately for the victim, her family did not believe her because she had told lies in the past, but she never made accusations of sexual abuse before. A few months later in November 2015, the victim once again told her cousin and grandmother that Mr. Lewis was sexually abusing her. She alleged that Mr. Lewis would make her choose between 100 whoopings or put his penis in her mouth.[1] She also alleged Mr. Lewis would make her choose between ten licks or put his penis in her mouth or private part. The victim described that her father would "pee" in her mouth. The grandmother immediately took the victim to her mother's home, and the family went to Children's Mercy Hospital. At the hospital, the family met with a social worker, and the victim identified her father as her sexual abuser in the presence of social worker.

         Mr. Lewis was charged in the Circuit Court of Jackson County with four counts of first-degree sodomy, two counts of first-degree statutory rape, and two counts of incest. During the trial, evidence showing that Mr. Lewis was the victim's father was submitted in several ways: (1) Mr. Lewis was listed as "father" on the victim's birth certificate, [2] (2) every witness called to testify identified Mr. Lewis as the victim's father, [3] and (3) trial counsel admitted this fact in closing argument.[4] Specifically, the victim and her family identified Mr. Lewis as victim's father as follows:

Victim
Q. Who are your mom and your dad?
A. My dad -- my stepdad is named Cortez, aka T.J., and my mom's name is Margaret Lewis.
Q. You said your stepdad, do you have a biological dad or a real dad?
A. Yes, ma'am.
Q. And who is that?
A. Brian Lewis.
Victim's Cousin
Q. You said that her dad touches her. Who do you know ...

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