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State v. Clark

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

December 17, 2014


Assigned on Briefs October 7, 2014

Appeal from the Circuit Court for Henderson County No. 13001-1 Roy B. Morgan, Jr., Judge

G. W. Sherrod, III, Henderson, Tennessee, for the Defendant-Appellant, Charles Anderson Clark, Jr.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Jonathan H. Wardle, Assistant Attorney General; Jerry Woodall, District Attorney General; and Angela Scott, Assistant District Attorney General, for the Appellee, State of Tennessee.

Camille R. McMullen, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Norma McGee Ogle and Timothy L. Easter, JJ., joined.



On or about July 10, 2012, two sexual encounters occurred between the victim and the Defendant-Appellant, a friend of the victim's roommate. Early that morning, around 4 a.m., the victim's roommate asked her to allow the Defendant-Appellant to wait inside their home until his ride arrived. Although the victim had previously expressed misgivings about the Defendant-Appellant, she reluctantly agreed. However, she told her roommate that she preferred for the Defendant-Appellant to wait on the front porch. The victim fell asleep on the futon in the living room and was later awakened by the Defendant-Appellant "putting his hands down [her] pants." She told him to stop, immediately went to her bedroom, and locked the door behind her.

The victim was awakened again later that morning with the Defendant-Appellant on top of her. She said that the Defendant-Appellant was penetrating her anally with his penis. She was unable to scream for help because he had her pinned down, pushing her face into a pillow with his left arm pressing against her neck. Her face was pressed so deeply into the pillow during the incident that she "chewed a hole through it." The victim testified that the Defendant-Appellant penetrated her for several hours, both anally and vaginally, and that he ejaculated inside of her repeatedly. After the Defendant-Appellant fell asleep, the victim managed to escape. She ran to the living room and told her two roommates that she had been raped. The Defendant-Appellant fled the home "with his shorts down to his ankles." The victim then called the police.

The victim went to the Lexington Police Department but was unable to walk inside the building due to her injuries. She said that she was in pain, and an officer met her outside at the sidewalk. Her injuries consisted of "bruising and some lacerations between her vaginal [sic] and [her] behind." The victim told police that she had had consensual sex with her fiancé within 24 hours prior to the offense. The victim also testified that she attempted to assist the prosecution in locating her roommates but was unable to do so.

On cross-examination, the victim agreed that she had known the Defendant-Appellant for "a few weeks" prior to the offense and considered him an acquaintance.[1] She had previously told her roommate that she did not want the Defendant-Appellant in her home because she considered him to be "aggressive." The victim did not recall reporting to a nurse the day after the offense that the Defendant-Appellant "needed to leave because her boyfriend would be mad if he knew he was there." She also denied that there was a prior physical altercation between her fiancé and the Defendant-Appellant and said that the two men did not know each other prior to the offense. The victim also denied telling Officer Brad Wilson that she had been in a relationship with the Defendant-Appellant and ended it because he became physically abusive. She said the officer may have misunderstood her and explained that "the statement was that we were acquaintances and we were talking." The victim also agreed that she previously testified that the Defendant-Appellant and her roommate arrived at her home at 4:30 or 5:00 that afternoon, rather than early the morning of the offense. She confirmed at trial that they arrived that morning, explained that the offense was "a very traumatic situation, " and said that she was not keeping up with the time. Finally, she agreed that her prior statement to law enforcement, which provided that the Defendant-Appellant digitally penetrated her during the first encounter that morning, was inconsistent with her trial testimony, which provided that the Defendant-Appellant put his hands down her pants.

Casey Koza, an agent with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), testified that she examined the rape kit recovered in this case, obtained the vaginal swabs showing biological fluids, and forwarded her findings to a DNA analyst for comparison.[2] Agent Koza's report was admitted into evidence without objection. TBI Agent Mark Dunlap, an expert in forensic serology, testified that he received DNA samples from the victim, the victim's fiancé, and the Defendant-Appellant, which he compared to samples from the victim's vaginal swab. His examination revealed a mixture of genetic material or DNA from the victim, her fiancé, and the Defendant-Appellant. Although DNA from all three individuals was present on the vaginal swab, Agent Dunlap determined that the Defendant-Appellant was the major contributor of DNA. Agent Dunlap's report was admitted into evidence without objection.

Molly Britt, a sexual assault nurse examiner at Jackson-Madison General Hospital, testified that she "triage[d]" and assessed the victim upon her arrival at the hospital on the day of the offense. She described the contents of a "rape kit, " prepared slides for lab analysis, and collected a vaginal swab from the victim. On cross-examination, she agreed that the medical records indicated that the victim told another nurse that she had been in a prior relationship with the assailant.

Officer Wendy Nichols of the Lexington Police Department testified that when the victim arrived at the police station, she stated that she had been raped. Officer Nichols testified that the victim had trouble walking and could not sit. She gathered information necessary for her initial report outside on the front bench, with the victim lying on her side. She confirmed the victim's general account of the timeline of events but was unable to obtain a definite timeline because "two other people that had came [sic] with her, they were all three talking" at the same time. Officer Nichols said her main concern was to get the victim to the hospital. She also assisted in the investigation by locating the driver who took the Defendant-Appellant back to Jackson and returned to the crime scene to take photographs.

Officer Brad Wilson of the Lexington Police Department testified that the victim appeared "very upset" and "injured" when she reported that she had been raped. The victim said she knew the perpetrator, and Officer Wilson's report reflected that the victim and the Defendant-Appellant were in a "relationship." Officer Wilson clarified that the victim did not report that she was in a sexual relationship with the Defendant-Appellant, as implied by his use of the word relationship. He explained that the victim told him that (1) she was "friends" with the Defendant-Appellant; (2) the Defendant-Appellant was physically abusive; and (3) she did not even know the Defendant-Appellant's real name, only his nickname ...

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