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Cody v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division I

December 3, 2014

ANDREW J. CODY, APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS, APPELLEE

APPEAL FROM THE POPE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. NO. CR-12-277. HONORABLE WILLIAM M. PEARSON, JUDGE.

Debra J. Reece, for appellant.

Dustin McDaniel, Att'y Gen., by: Kathryn Henry, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, Judge. PITTMAN and GLOVER, JJ., agree.

OPINION

Page 713

PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, Judge

Appellant Andrew J. Cody was charged with one count of first-degree murder of Lee Britton and one count of aggravated residential burglary. The Pope County Circuit Court denied Cody's request to instruct the jury on manslaughter on the murder charge, and the jury found him guilty of the lesser-included offense of second-degree murder. The jury acquitted Cody of aggravated residential burglary. He was sentenced to twenty years in the Arkansas Department of Correction. Cody subsequently filed a motion for new trial, arguing that the prosecutor had engaged in " reverse vouching" due to inappropriate behavior during closing arguments and the sentencing phase of the trial. The circuit court denied Cody's motion.

Page 714

On appeal, Cody challenges the circuit court's rejection of his request for a manslaughter instruction and the court's denial of his motion for new trial. We find no error and affirm.

I. Background Facts

Cody was married to Sheena Cody. They are the parents of a then five-year-old daughter, H.C., and a son, B.C. Cody and Sheena separated, and the separation essentially resulted in Sheena being homeless for some time. Eventually, Sheena rented a room from Britton in March 2012. Britton, unbeknownst to Sheena or Cody, had previous " true" findings for sexual assault from the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS).

On May 12, 2012, Latricia Brown, a family service worker specialist with DHS, responded to a " Priority One" call at Britton's home. Based upon the previous " true" finding for sexual assault committed by Britton, DHS was investigating Sheena's residence at Britton's home and the exposure of Sheena and Cody's children to Britton. DHS instructed Sheena to remove the children from Britton's home immediately. At the time of Brown's visit, B.C. was with Sheena at Britton's home, but H.C., who was in Cody's care, was not present. Sheena contacted Cody about the DHS involvement, and Cody went to get B.C.

On the drive to Britton's house, H.C. told Cody that Britton had molested her. When Cody arrived at Britton's house, Cody revealed H.C.'s disclosure to Brown. She explained to him that he needed to call the Crimes Against Children Division (CACD) to report the alleged molestation. Enraged, Cody went inside Britton's house, asking why Britton touched his daughter. Britton denied the allegation, saying, " I don't know why she would say that." After that, Cody left Britton's house and called CACD.

CACD began its investigation the next day, May 13, 2012, and conducted interviews with Sheena, Cody, and H.C. CACD also set up a physical exam for H.C. Additionally, Cody was informed that Britton was scheduled to ...


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