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State v. Williams

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

December 30, 2014


Assigned on Briefs October 21, 2014 at Knoxville.

Appeal from the Circuit Court for Dyer County No. 09-CR-398 Russell Lee Moore, Jr., Judge.

James E. Lanier, District Public Defender; and Timothy Boxx, Assistant Public Defender, for the appellant, Katius J. Williams.

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter; Clarence E. Lutz, Senior Counsel; and C. Phillip Bivens, 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.




The victim, A.R., [1] testified that she was a lesbian and that in July 2009, she and her partner rented a house in Dyersburg, Tennessee. A.R. testified that her partner worked nights and that after her partner left for work on the night of July 24, 2009, she fell asleep in their bedroom watching a horror movie. A.R. testified that she woke up to an African-American man "standing in front of [her] with a bandana over his face . . . and a gun in [her] face." The man rolled the victim onto her stomach and tied her hands behind her back. To cover her eyes, the man "wrapped something around [her] head and tied it." Then the man "tried to wrap something around [her] mouth but it wouldn't stay so he took it off and just stuck it in [her] mouth."

A.R. testified that the man "started asking [her] where the money was." A.R. told the man that all she had was twenty-three dollars on the coffee table in the living room. The man walked out of the bedroom, came back, and told her that he could not find the money. A.R. testified that she then "had to tell him exactly where it was." The man left the room and came back a short time later. A.R. testified that when the man came back that time, he "rolled [her] over on [her] back and started taking [her] shorts off." The man "tried to rip [her] panties off but he couldn't get them to rip off so he just took them off." A.R. testified while the man did this, her hands were still bound and her face was still covered.

A.R. testified that once the man removed her panties, he penetrated her vagina with his penis. The man "turned [her] sideways across the bed and [] put a pillow over [her] head" while he raped her. The man told her to "f--k back" and told her to "shut up" when she started to cry. When he finished, the man "went and got a wet wash cloth, [] and washed [her] off." The man put her shorts back on and "then [she] heard a vacuum cleaner running." The man sat her "up on the edge of the bed" and told her that "if [she] could get [her] hands loose that [she] could go." He also told her not to tell anyone that he raped her, to "just tell them you got robbed, " or he would "come back and kill" her.

A.R. testified that she was able to get one of her hands free "just a minute" after the man left. A.R. gathered her cell phone and her cigarettes and "ran to the front door." She found that the front door was locked. A.R. unlocked the front door and went to her neighbor's house "and started banging on [her] door." A.R.'s neighbor, Laura Henson, testified that she awoke on July 25, 2009, to A.R. "banging on [her] bedroom door" around 3:00 a.m. Ms. Henson testified that the victim had "her sleeping clothes on" and an electrical cord "on her arms." Ms. Henson testified that A.R. was "hysterical and upset." According to Ms. Henson, A.R. was crying and asking for her partner. A.R. told Ms. Henson "that her house had been broken into and that she had been raped."

Ms. Henson testified that she told A.R. "that she needed to call 911." A.R. called 911 from Ms. Henson's house and stayed there until the police arrived. A.R. did not tell the 911 operator that she had been raped, but she testified that she told the first officer to arrive that she "probably needed to go to the emergency room" because she had been raped. Investigator Monty Essary of the Dyersburg Police Department (DPD) testified that when he spoke to A.R. on July 25, 2009, she was "very upset, " "[e]mbarrased, " "[a]shamed, " and "not comfortable" talking about what had happened, but A.R. did tell him that she had been raped. Inv. Essary and A.R. did "a walk through" of her house before she was taken to the emergency room. A.R. testified that when she walked through the house with Inv. Essary, twenty-three dollars was missing from the living room.

Inv. Essary testified that the back door of the house showed signs of "forced entry." The door frame and door "had cracks and busts in" them. A.R. testified that she and her partner did not use the back door and had locked it and covered it with a black felt sheet. Inv. Essary noted that the felt sheet had been nailed around the top and sides of the door, but that it was torn "away." In the bedroom, Inv. Essary found a wet wash cloth, a vacuum cleaner, and "a black t-shirt with a knot tied in it, " which he believed had "been tied around" A.R.'s face. In the dining room, Inv. Essary found a "clock radio . . . with the power cord cut off." Police recovered the electrical cord wrapped around A.R.'s wrists when they arrived at Ms Henson's house, and Inv. Essary noted that A.R. had red marks on her wrists. A used condom and some toilet paper were found in the commode in A.R.'s bathroom. Inv. Essary testified that no blood or usable fingerprints were found in A.R.'s house.

Commander Billy Williams of the DPD testified that he was in charge of the DPD's Criminal Investigation Division and that he was also the Defendant's uncle. Cdr. Williams testified that he interviewed the Defendant about the offenses. Cdr. Williams told the Defendant he was suspected of raping a white woman and told him "where that incident took place." The Defendant did not say anything about having a relationship or consensual sex with A.R. during the interview. The Defendant volunteered to give a DNA sample and said that "he knew he didn't rape anyone." The Defendant told Cdr. Williams that "he was incarcerated" at the time of the offenses, but Cdr. Williams testified that "the investigation revealed that he was not . . . incarcerated when [the] offense[s] occurred."

Cdr. Williams testified that the Defendant's hand was bandaged when he interviewed him some six weeks after the offense. Cdr. Williams further testified that the Defendant had previously told him that a dog had bitten his hand. Subsequent forensic testing by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation revealed that the Defendant's sperm was on the inside and outside of the condom found in A.R.'s toilet. ...

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