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State v. Stovall

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

November 18, 2014

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
JALEEL JOVAN STOVALL

Assigned on Briefs October 21, 2014 at Knoxville

Appeal from the Circuit Court for Hardeman County No. CC-2011-CR-1011 J. Weber McCraw, Judge

W. Erik Haas, Somerville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jaleel Jovan Stovall.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; J. Ross Dyer, Senior Counsel; D. Michael Dunavant, District Attorney General; and Joe L. Van Dyke, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which James Curwood Witt, Jr., and Robert L. Holloway, Jr., JJ., joined.

OPINION

D. KELLY THOMAS, JR., JUDGE

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

In May 2011, a Hardeman County grand jury charged the Defendant with rape of a child, eleven-year-old S.F.[1] ("the victim"), a Class A felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-522. The Defendant thereafter entered a guilty plea to rape but was later allowed to withdraw that plea, and he proceeded to trial in January 2013.

At trial, Kevin Crawford, City of Galloway Chief of Police, [2] testified that he received a call on June 17, 2010, from the Hardeman County Community Health Center that a female juvenile had a positive pregnancy test. He arrived at the center and spoke with S.F., who was eleven years old at that time, and her mother, V.F.[3] After talking with them, Chief Crawford "determined that [the victim] had had sexual contact with an individual that was staying temporarily at [the] house and visiting back in April, around the - April 8th, April 9th." The victim identified the then eighteen-year-old Defendant as the man who came into her room during the night and forced her to have sexual intercourse. Chief Crawford set up a forensic interview for the victim.

Chief Crawford then proceeded to locate the Defendant and interviewed him. The Defendant denied any sexual contact with the victim, but he provided Chief Crawford with the following explanation:

He did admit that he had stayed at the house during the time that [the victim] became pregnant, advised that he does not recall having any sexual contact with her, that he had came (sic) home, had been under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, and that - stated that if she was pregnant by him, that undoubtedly after he passed out that she had taken a turkey baster and got herself pregnant trying to frame him.

The victim testified that the Defendant occasionally spent the night at her house during the early months of 2010. The victim said that her family was having a barbecue at the house one day, that the Defendant was walking around the neighborhood alone, so her mother's boyfriend invited him over, and that the Defendant then began "hanging" around their house. According to S.F., approximately one month later, the Defendant came into her room at night, hit her in the ear, and told her that, if she said anything, then he would hurt her. The Defendant forced her to have sex with him. According to the victim, the Defendant did not appear intoxicated on this evening. The victim acknowledged that she did not tell anyone about the incident until her positive pregnancy test.

The victim stated that the Defendant knew she was only eleven years old, describing, "I got off the bus one day, doing my homework. He saw the grade on my book, . . . and he asked me how old was I and I told him 11." Morever, the victim said that she did not have any type of relationship with the Defendant and confirmed that her baby was born on December 14, 2010.

According to the victim, the Defendant called her house after his arrest and wrote her letters. One letter, admitted ...


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