FROM THE PULASKI COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SEVENTH DIVISION [NO.
60CR-15-606] HONORABLE BARRY A. SIMS, JUDGE AFFIRMED
Theodis N. Thompson, Jr., for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Rachel Kemp, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
Whiteaker and Murphy, JJ., agree.
F. VIRDEN, Judge
O'Neal Echoles was convicted by a Pulaski County Circuit
Court jury of fourth-degree sexual assault and was sentenced
to thirty days in jail and fined $2500. On appeal he argues
that the evidence supporting his conviction was insufficient.
1, 2016, there was a trial on the matter. K.P., who was
fourteen at the time of the incident, testified that on the
evening of April 27, 2014, she and her nine-year-old sister
were visiting Echoles at his home. K.P. stated that while
they were in the kitchen making milkshakes, Echoles asked her
"Do you want to make some extra money?" and that
she agreed, thinking he was going to ask her to wash dishes.
K.P. testified that Echoles asked her if she would promise
not to tell anyone, and she agreed. K.P. recounted that
Echoles pushed her against the wall and began groping her
buttocks and kissing her on her mouth. K.P. testified that
she told Echoles to stop, that she was uncomfortable, and
that she then returned to the living room. K.P. explained
that she told her sister that it was time to leave. K.P.
testified that Echoles walked them home. K.P. did not tell
her family about the assault that night, and she testified
that the next day while she was at school she became upset.
K.P. recounted that she told her teacher what had happened
and that the teacher took her to the school guidance
counselor, who called her mother.
teacher testified that the day she took K.P. to the school
counselor, K.P. had seemed "shaky" and more
introverted than usual, and that when she took K.P. out into
the hall to ask her what had happened, K.P. became very
upset, which was unusual for her. K.P.'s guidance
counselor testified that the teacher brought K.P. to his
office, where she told him what had happened. The guidance
counselor testified that he immediately called K.P.'s
mother testified at the trial that she first heard of the
incident when the school counselor called her. She recalled
that on the evening of April 27, 2014, K.P. had not wanted to
drink the milkshake she had brought home from Echoles's
home, and it was unusual for her to refuse ice cream.
K.P.'s mother testified that, after she spoke to the
guidance counselor, she filed a police report at the North
Little Rock Police Department. She explained that a couple of
days after the incident, she and K.P. met and spoke with
Detective Julie Eckart to give a recorded statement.
Eckart testified that she had been assigned to K.P.'s
case and that K.P.'s mother brought her into the office
to make a report. Detective Eckart testified that K.P. seemed
truthful and forthcoming. Eckart recounted that K.P. told her
that Echoles asked her, "are you ready to make some
extra money?" and that he pushed her up against the
wall, grabbed her, and started kissing her. Eckart testified
that K.P. indicated to her that she pushed Echoles away from
her when he touched her buttocks and told him no.
Rodney Thomas of the North Little Rock Police Department
testified that he conducted the follow-up interview regarding
K.P.'s allegation of sexual assault. Detective Thomas
testified that he took K.P.'s statement and that she told
him Echoles had asked her if she was "ready to work for
some money, " and that he touched her buttocks and
kissed her on the lips.
testified at his trial. He explained that K.P. and her sister
had regularly visited his home-about three or four times a
week. Echoles explained that he had been concerned for their
mother, whom he had known for years, because she had been
moody and withdrawn. Echoles testified that he often cooked
for the kids, helped them with homework, and occasionally
gave them money for doing chores because their mother had not
been working. Echoles explained that on April 27, 2014, the
girls had been at his house eating and watching television
but had left his home early because there was a tornado in
the area. Echoles asserted that, around that time, K.P.'s
family members had been upset because he was planning on
accepting a promotion and moving to Helena. He testified that
the children often asked if he would marry their mother,
though Echoles testified that he had not been in a
relationship with K.P.'s mother. Echoles denied touching
or kissing K.P.
attorney moved for a directed verdict. He asserted that
[s]pecifically, there is no evidence that my client
unlawfully engaged in sexual contact for the purposes of
gratification of the defendant. And there has been zero
evidence put forward of anything regarding that there is a