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Holley v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division IV

October 22, 2014

TRENTON HOLLEY, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS, APPELLEE

APPEAL FROM THE FAULKNER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. 23CR-11-448. HONORABLE CHARLES E. CLAWSON, JR., JUDGE.

Blagg Law Firm, by: Ralph Blagg and Nicki Nicolo, for appellant.

Dustin McDaniel, Att'y Gen., by: Eileen W. Harrison, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

BRANDON J. HARRISON, Judge. WYNNE and GLOVER, JJ., agree.

OPINION

Page 885

BRANDON J. HARRISON, Judge

A Faulkner County jury convicted Trenton Holley for a second-degree sexual assault of his fourteen-year-old stepdaughter, K.W. He was sentenced to seventeen years in prison. The issues here are whether the circuit court erred (1) by denying Holley's motion to suppress certain statements that he made while in police custody and (2) by admitting certain testimony during the sentencing phase. We affirm.

I. Background

In mid-March 2011, K.W. told her mother, Dusty Holley, that her stepfather, Trenton Holley, came into her room on several occasions while she was sleeping and inappropriately touched her. Dusty reported the incident to the police, and on March 17, State Police Investigator Joni Clark spoke with Dusty Holley. Investigator

Page 886

Clark scheduled an interview on March 30, and Trenton Holley attended. During that interview, Holley told Investigator Clark that he had gone into K.W.'s room " to look at her" but that he " never touched her." Cite as At the end of the interview, Clark arrested Holley and took him to jail. The next day, March 31, Clark recorded a second interview with Holley. During the second interview Holley admitted that he had touched K.W.'s vagina through her clothes. Both interviews were recorded by Investigator Clark. The State filed criminal charges against Holley in April 2011, alleging that he had engaged in deviate sexual activity with K.W.

II. The Suppression Issue

In June 2012, Holley filed a pretrial motion to suppress incriminating statements he made during the March 31 interview, alleging that the State had induced a confession by a false promise of reward and leniency. The court held a motion hearing and addressed Holley's March 31 statement to Investigator Clark. Several witnesses testified about the details surrounding the March 31 confession.

Investigator Clark testified that Holley met with her voluntarily on 30 March 2011. Clark said that, at first Holley denied going inside K.W.'s room, but then said he went to get his cell phone and eventually admitted to looking at his stepdaughter. Clark said that she arrested Holley after the interview and that, while taking him to jail, he asked to make a deal. Holley wanted to plead to a misdemeanor because he would lose his job if convicted of committing a felony. Clark said that she told him that she could not offer him anything " because it would be coercion" but that she could talk to the deputy prosecuting attorney. Clark later relayed to Holley that the deputy prosecuting attorney would not offer him any deal; the prosecutor did, however, offer him ...


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