Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville
Session February 22, 2017
from the Criminal Court for Morgan County No. 2013-CR-13 E.
Eugene Eblen, Judge
defendant, Michael C. Bolden, appeals his Morgan County
Criminal Court jury conviction of aggravated rape of a child,
claiming that the evidence was insufficient to support his
conviction and that the trial court erred by failing to
instruct the jury on rape of a child as a lesser included
offense. We affirm the conviction and sentence but remand for
correction of a clerical error in the judgment.
R. App. P. 3; Judgment of the Criminal Court Affirmed;
Brad Neff, Jamestown, Tennessee, for the appellant, Michael
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter;
Katherine C. Redding, Assistant Attorney General; Russell
Johnson, District Attorney General; and Alyson Kennedy and
Robert Edwards, Assistant District Attorneys General, for the
appellee, State of Tennessee.
Curwood Witt, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which Norma McGee Ogle and Robert H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ.,
CURWOOD WITT, JR., JUDGE.
January 2013, the Morgan County Grand Jury charged the
defendant with one count of aggravated rape of a child. The
trial court conducted a jury trial in June 2015.
State's proof at trial showed that the victim, C.H.,
resided in Morgan County with his mother, A.H.,
September 2012. A.H. testified that the victim was born on
December 17, 2009, and that he was three months shy of his
third birthday on September 10, 2012.
days prior to September 10, the victim was accidentally run
over by a vehicle in a library parking lot but fortunately
sustained only minor injuries. On September 10, the defendant
paid a visit to A.H.'s residence to "check on"
the victim's well-being. The defendant sat on the floor
of the living room and helped the victim play with some toy
trucks. After a few minutes, the victim decided to play in
his bedroom, and the defendant asked A.H. if he could assist
the victim in carrying the toys to the victim's bedroom;
A.H. acquiesced and followed them. While A.H. was standing
outside of the victim's bedroom, her husband requested
her assistance in locating an item, and A.H. walked away
"for maybe a minute, minute and a half." When she
returned to the victim's bedroom, she saw the defendant
"sticking his [penis] in my kid[']s mouth."
A.H. stated that the defendant had one of his hands on the
victim's head and that he was using his other hand to
hold his penis.
testified that she immediately "started screaming,
" and the defendant replied that he "wasn't
doing nothing, " although A.H. could "clearly see
his pants were unbuttoned." A.H.'s husband "had
to force [the defendant] out of the whole house, " and
the defendant was "screaming I'm sorry, I'm
sorry, I didn't mean to." When police officers
arrived at the house, the defendant continued "screaming
I'm not right in the head, I didn't mean to, I
wasn't right, I didn't mean to do it."
admitted that she had been previously convicted of attempted
forgery, misdemeanor theft, misdemeanor criminal
impersonation, and possession of less than half a gram of
methamphetamine and that she was currently serving a jail
sentence in Cumberland County. A.H. clarified that all of her
criminal convictions had occurred after the rape of the
cross-examination, A.H. stated that, when she reentered the
victim's bedroom, the defendant was on his knees, and
A.H. was adamant that she saw the defendant's penis
inside the victim's mouth. A.H. denied using any drugs on
September 10, 2012, and testified that she did not begin
using methamphetamine until after the victim's rape. A.H.
denied that the victim had a history of grabbing men in the
crotch. A.H. confirmed that she had contacted Mark and Linda
Peterson shortly after the rape occurred, explaining that she
had met the defendant through the Petersons and that she
wanted to inform them of what had transpired because the
defendant "would slip off into the bedroom" with
the Petersons' children on prior occasions.
County Sheriff's Department ("MCSD") Chief
Deputy Steve Cochran testified that he interviewed the
defendant on September 12, 2012. Chief Cochran provided the
defendant with his Miranda warnings, and the
defendant signed a waiver of his rights and agreed to speak
with Chief Cochran. At that time, the defendant admitted that
he had placed his penis in the victim's mouth. Chief
Cochran asked the defendant "what made [him] excited . .
. about the child, " and the defendant replied that
"he was excited and turned on by" seeing the victim
"in his diaper." The defendant denied that he had
committed any other sexual assaults or that "little boys
turned him on" prior to his assault of the victim.
Following the interview, Chief Cochran asked the defendant to
give a handwritten statement, and the defendant complied,
writing that he "went to his bedroom to play with him
then after [I] played with him [I] stuck my penis in his
cross-examination, Chief Cochran admitted that no video or
audio recording of his interview with the defendant existed.
Chief Cochran acknowledged that he did not inquire about the
defendant's educational background but stated that he had
read the Miranda warnings aloud to the defendant
"just in case" the defendant was unable to read.
Chief Cochran conceded that the defendant had not signed his
handwritten statement, which was on the back side of the
rights waiver form which he had signed.
redirect examination, Chief Cochran stated that he had given
"hundreds" of interviews and Miranda
warnings throughout his career in law enforcement and that he
was able to discern when an interviewee understands the
questions being asked of him. Chief Cochran had "no
question" about the defendant's ability to
understand his rights.
Police Department Officer Brian Luttrell testified that in
September 2012 he was employed as an MCSD corrections
officer. Officer Luttrell was present during Chief
Cochran's interview of the ...