FROM THE ARKANSAS COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, NORTHERN DISTRICT
[NO. 01CR-15-34] HONORABLE DAVID G. HENRY, JUDGE
D. Watson, Attorney at Law, PLLC, by: Brett D. Watson, for
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Brad Newman, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
F. VIRDEN, Judge.
Arkansas County jury convicted appellant Chachawal
Chawangkul of second-degree sexual
assault involving then eight-year-old N.L., his
girlfriend's granddaughter, and he was sentenced to serve
five years in prison. On appeal, appellant argues that the
trial court erred in denying his directed-verdict motions
because the State failed to prove that he touched the child
for the purpose of sexual gratification. We affirm.
Standard of Review
motion for directed verdict is a challenge to the sufficiency
of the evidence. Davis v. State, 2009 Ark.App. 753.
On appeal, in reviewing a challenge to the sufficiency of the
evidence, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to
the verdict to determine whether the verdict is supported by
substantial evidence, direct or circumstantial. Id.
Substantial evidence is that which is of sufficient force and
character that it will, with reasonable certainty, compel a
conclusion one way or the other, without resorting to
speculation or conjecture. Id. Decisions regarding
the credibility of witnesses are for the trier of fact.
person commits sexual assault in the second degree if the
person, being eighteen years of age or older, engages in
sexual contact with another person who is less than fourteen
years old and not the person's spouse. Ark. Code Ann.
§ 5-14-125(a)(3) (Supp. 2015). "Sexual
contact" means any act of sexual gratification involving
the touching, directly or through clothing, of the sex
organs, buttocks, or anus of a person or the breast of a
female. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-14-101(10). "Sexual
gratification" is not defined in the statute, but our
supreme court has construed the words in accordance with
their reasonable and commonly accepted meanings. Elliott
v. State, 2010 Ark.App. 185.
lived in a home belonging to her great-grandmother, D.B.,
along with her younger brother, mother, and grandmother.
N.L.'s grandmother, Karen Jones, worked with and had
dated appellant, who was known as "Joshua." Karen
and appellant were at D.B.'s home on the night of
February 8, 2015. D.B. routinely slept with N.L. and her
brother. When they went to bed, Karen took appellant to her
bedroom down the hall. D.B. testified that, around 1:00 a.m.,
she had awakened to see appellant in her bedroom. She noted
that his hand had been near her pelvis. Even though she was
already covered, appellant had said to her, "I cover you
up." D.B. stated that she had thought nothing of it
until N.L. woke her a few hours later.
testified that, around 3:50 a.m., she had awakened to find
appellant on his knees on her side of the bed with his hand
between her legs. N.L. said that appellant's hand had
been underneath the covers and on top of her underwear. N.L.
testified that appellant had said, "Shhh. Don't tell
nobody, " and left the bedroom. N.L. woke D.B. and said
that appellant had touched her "frog, " which was
what she called her vagina. D.B. testified that, shortly
after N.L.'s disclosure, she saw appellant as he came
from Karen's bedroom; he put on his coat and left.
Sergeant Eric Brown with the Stuttgart Police Department
interviewed appellant on February 12, 2015. Brown testified
that, prior to the interview, he had read appellant his
Miranda rights and had given him the rights form to
read and sign. Brown testified that he had been satisfied
that appellant ...