FROM THE FAULKNER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 23CR-14-827]
HONORABLE CHARLES E. CLAWSON, JR., JUDGE
Wesley Hall and Sarah M. Pourhosseini, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Brad Newman, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
A. WOMACK, ASSOCIATE JUSTICE
Richard Shreck appeals the circuit court's ruling
admitting into evidence, during the sentencing phase of his
trial, conversations regarding "snuff" sex.
Appellant argues the conversations were irrelevant and unduly
prejudicial. We affirm the judgment of the circuit court.
and Procedural Background
appellant entered an online chatroom and began to chat with a
police officer trained to investigate crimes against
children. The chatroom, which they were both in, typically
includes people who chat about sexually deviant behavior,
including sexually exploiting children. The online profile of
the officer was that of a single mother of a ten-year-old
daughter and an eight-year-old son whom she was willing to
make available for the sexual gratification of the chatroom
participants. The conversation between appellant and the
officer involved sexual acts with the officer's imaginary
children. Appellant ultimately made arrangements to meet the
officer and her imaginary children at a parking lot in Conway
and take them to Hot Springs for sex. Upon meeting the
officer, the appellant was placed in custody.
the online conversations, appellant admitted that he was
interested in "snuff" and bondage sex. He also
stated that he had thought about snuffing a child. Further,
during one of the conversations, appellant sent a picture of
a device he made for snuffing women. He also asked for
pictures of the officer's imaginary children and stated
that he was talking about snuff sex with others, including a
sixteen-year-old girl. Testimony at trial described snuff sex
as killing someone during or after sex and indicating that it
may be done by impaling someone with a sharpened rod.
was ultimately charged with two counts of conspiracy to
commit rape and two counts of attempted internet stalking of
a child. The internet-stalking charges were nolle
prossed by the State. A jury subsequently convicted the
appellant of two counts of conspiracy to commit rape and
sentenced him to 30 years in prison on each count.
the sentencing phase, the officer testified regarding the
conversations centered on "snuff" and bondage sex.
Additionally, the State entered into evidence pictures that
depicted women being impaled during sex, which were found on
the defendant's computer, as well as the picture of the
device the defendant made for impaling women.
circuit court's decision to admit evidence during the
penalty phase is reviewed for an abuse of discretion.
Crawford v. State, 362 Ark. 301, 303, 208 S.W.3d
146, 147 (2005); Brown v. State, 2010 Ark. 420, at
12, 378 S.W.3d 66, 73. Determining what is relevant and what
is prejudicial is at the discretion of the court. MacKool
v. State, 365 Ark. 416, 449-50, 231 S.W.3d 676, 701
(2006). The standard "is a high threshold that does not
simply require error in the circuit court's decision, but
requires that the circuit court act improvidently,
thoughtlessly, or without due consideration."
Holland v. State, 2015 Ark. 341, at 7, 471 S.W.3d
Arkansas Code provides that relevant character evidence is
admissible during the sentencing phase of a trial. Ark. Code
Ann. § 16-97-103(5) (Repl. 2016). Therefore, while the
rules of evidence apply during all stages of the proceeding,
certain evidence is admissible during sentencing ...