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State v. Jones

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Jackson

December 28, 2016

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
MARIO JONES

          Assigned on Briefs September 7, 2016

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Shelby County No. 12-06405 John W. Campbell, Judge

         Following a jury trial, the Defendant, Mario Jones, was convicted of two counts of rape of a child involving two different victims. He now appeals as of right from those convictions challenging the sufficiency of the evidence, noting that there was no forensic evidence to bolster the victims' narratives and asserting that those narratives lacked credibility. Following our review, we conclude that the evidence was sufficient to support the Defendant's convictions. Therefore, the trial court's judgments are affirmed.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Criminal Court Affirmed

          Joseph S. Ozment (on appeal), and Larry E. Fitzgerald (at trial), Memphis, Tennessee, for the appellant, Mario Jones.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; David H. Findley, Senior Counsel; Amy P. Weirich, District Attorney General; and Abby Wallace and Will Cranford, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Norma McGee Ogle and Robert W. Wedemeyer, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          D. KELLY THOMAS, JR., JUDGE

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         For events occurring between August 1, 2009, and October 8, 2009, the Shelby County Grand Jury charged the Defendant with one count of rape of a child regarding L.J.[1] and one count of rape of child regarding D.J. See Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-522. L.J. and D.J. were siblings, and the Defendant was the son of the victims' mother's then-boyfriend. The Defendant resided in the home with the victims during this timeframe and cared for the victims sometimes while their mother worked.

         At the Defendant's June 2015 trial, the following facts were adduced. L.J. testified that she had four siblings: D.J., who was older than her, and two younger sisters. The youngest child and the Defendant had the same father.

         L.J. testified that she was four years old when the Defendant lived with them. L.J. said that, one afternoon, she was sitting on the living room couch with her siblings watching television. During this time, the Defendant touched her "private part" underneath her clothes and "then licked his hands[, ]" according to L.J. L.J. further explained that the Defendant "moved his hand" while he was touching her on the "[o]utside" of her body and that he instructed her not tell her mother or the Defendant's father about this.

         L.J. continued, stating that the Defendant also asked her to touch his "private part" with her hand "[u]p inside his pants" while on the couch. She did not comply, so he forced her to put "his private part" in her mouth for about a minute, L.J. said. According to L.J., the Defendant's "private part" "was just still" while inside her mouth, and she was "[s]itting up" and he was "[s]itting down." She further explained: "[H]e tried to make me put it up in my mouth, but I didn't do it, and then he had put it and sticked [sic] it up in my mouth." She said that she told her siblings to tell their mother.

         According to L.J., her brother first talked with their mother when she came home from work that evening, and then L.J. informed her mother about the incident. She was "nervous" to tell her mother "[b]ecause [she] thought that ...


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