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State v. Cooper

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

May 21, 2019

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
JONATHAN COOPER

          Session January 24, 2019

          Appeal from the Criminal Court for Knox County No. 108334 Steven W. Sword, Judge

         The Defendant, Jonathan Cooper, was indicted for two counts of aggravated sexual battery, a Class B felony; five counts of incest, a Class C felony; and five counts of rape of a child, a Class A felony. See Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-13-504, -13-522, -15-302. Following a jury trial, the Defendant was convicted of one count of aggravated sexual battery, three counts of incest, and three counts of rape of a child. The Defendant was acquitted of the remaining charges. The trial court later imposed a total effective sentence of fifty years. On appeal, the Defendant contends that (1) the evidence was insufficient to sustain his convictions; and (2) the trial court erred in allowing a witness to testify that he observed the victim crying during a forensic interview. Following our review, we affirm the judgments of the trial court.

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

          Joshua Hedrick, Knoxville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Jonathan Cooper.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; Garrett D. Ward, Assistant Attorney General; Charme P. Allen, District Attorney General; and Nathaniel Ross Ogle, 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 H. Montgomery, Jr., JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          D. KELLY THOMAS, JR., JUDGE

         FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         The victim, F.C., [1] testified that she was born in May 2004 and that the Defendant is her father. Initially, the Defendant lived with his parents, the victim's grandparents, and he had custody of her "every weekend." The victim testified that she would stay with the Defendant in his bedroom where she had a small bed to herself.

         The victim testified that one night, when she was "[a]bout nine" and in the fourth grade, the Defendant closed the door to his bedroom and told her to come to his bed. The Defendant then "started touching [her] private parts" over her clothing. The victim explained that her "private parts" were her "[b]oobs and vagina." When he was finished, the Defendant told the victim to go back to her bed. The victim testified that she did not tell anyone about this because she "was scared." According to the victim, this happened "[l]ike three or four times." During these incidents, the Defendant would instruct the victim to take off her clothes and touch his penis. The victim recalled an incident at her grandparents' house when the Defendant "put his penis in [her] mouth and kissed and licked [her] privates."

         The victim testified that around the time she turned ten and started the fifth grade, the Defendant got married and moved into an apartment with his wife. The Defendant and his wife had a baby, N.C., [2] in June 2014. The victim testified that she shared a bedroom with her baby brother when she stayed with the Defendant.

         The victim recalled that, late one night, the Defendant entered her bedroom and took her baby brother out of the room. The Defendant returned to the room without the baby, he shut the door, took off his clothes, and took off the victim's clothes. The victim testified that the Defendant then started "kissing and touching" her "vagina and boobs." The victim testified about another incident when the Defendant took her baby brother out of the bedroom, came back without the baby, took off both of their clothes, and "[p]ut his penis in [her] mouth and was touching and licking [her] private." When he finished, the Defendant had her put on her clothes and go back to bed.

         The victim testified that the final incident occurred at the Defendant's apartment when she was eleven. On that night, the Defendant penetrated her vagina with his penis. The victim testified that the Defendant was "[g]oing back and forth" with his penis for "a short amount of time" before the Defendant "took his penis out of [her] vagina and put white stuff on [her] stomach." The Defendant then put his clothes on, took the victim to a bathtub, ...


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