FROM THE HEMPSTEAD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 29CR-15-112]
HONORABLE DUNCAN CULPEPPER, JUDGE
& Benca, by: Patrick J. Benca, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Karen Virginia Wallace,
Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.
Abramson and Brown, JJ., agree.
Hempstead County jury convicted appellant James Pafford of
two counts of rape and two counts of sexual assault in the
second degree. Pafford was sentenced to twenty-five
years' imprisonment in the Arkansas Department of
Correction on each rape conviction, to run consecutively to
each other, and five years' imprisonment on each
sexual-assault conviction, to run concurrently with the rape
convictions. Pafford timely filed a motion for new trial, and
the circuit court denied the motion by order. From that
order, Pafford appeals. We affirm.
Facts and Procedural History
sexually abused then twelve-year-old M.W. on two occasions in
February 2015. Both encounters took place at Pafford's
home. M.W. confided in his grandmother and a
child-abuse-hotline call was made. Because M.W. lived
primarily in the same home as Pafford, the call was of high
priority and M.W. was immediately interviewed. From there,
the investigation continued and was handed over to the state
police. Pafford was charged with two counts of rape and two
counts of sexual assault in the second degree. On February 9,
2016, the case proceeded to a jury trial where the following
testimony was taken.
Russette, a sexual-assault nurse examiner, testified as an
expert witness that she examined M.W. pursuant to the
sexual-assault allegation. She first took his assault history
when M.W. explained that his "[uncle had] been messing
with [his] private parts." He detailed the two incidents
to Russette. She read the report from the assault-history
portion of the exam to the jury:
On the night of the Super Bowl, he told me to go in the
bathroom and get it hard and come back and show him. He
started messing with it. He started jerking me off. Last
Monday I was staying the night with them. He woke me up. He
said come here and feel this. He went and got the white pump.
. . . He used it to make his stuff, his private parts bigger.
He didn't have any clothes on. He pulled my underwear
down and started jacking me off and started sucking on it.
Then, he started putting his stuff in my face and . . . it
was purple and swollen.
she read the history, Russette testified that she performed a
full head-to-toe exam and she opined that the results neither
refuted nor confirmed the history.
older brother, G.H., testified. He explained that the
Paffords lived three or four houses down from their house and
that they celebrated birthdays and holidays together. He
testified that when M.W. and his mom were not getting along,
M.W. would stay with the Paffords. G.H. said that Pafford
told him he could come live with the Pafford family and that
he would buy G.H. a truck when he got older. However, G.H.
felt uncomfortable and did not want to be there because
Pafford would show him "guys' stuff" on
Pafford's phone. Another time, G.H. said that he was
taking a shower in Pafford's shower that had a clear
glass door and that Pafford walked in wanting to see his
"stuff." G.H. also cited other conversations in
which Pafford would bring up inappropriate sex talk like
"[talking] about [G.H.'s] pecker growing a
Hardman, now twenty-four years old and married with four
children, testified that he used to work for the Paffords
because he needed money to pay off a fine. Pafford gave him a
$1500 advance, a truck, and a phone. The relationship turned
sexual when Pafford asked Hardman to make a video exposing
his genital area; Pafford would try to touch Hardman's
private area over his clothes, and he would ask to suck
Hardman's genitals. He also testified to an event where
he, Pafford, and a woman were engaged in sexual activity.
Hardman was at the house while one of the incidents between
M.W. and Pafford took place but was unaware it was happening.
He further testified that Carrie Harris, M.W.'s mom, shot
him in the arm when she found out he was there. After he had
been shot, he quit working for Pafford.
explained that the Paffords had taken care of her and her
children by paying the house note, bills, and whatever else
they needed. She said that on the night of one of the
encounters, she picked up M.W. from Pafford's house and
that he smelled like "sexual lubricant." She
approached M.W. about the issue, but he became upset and said
no. Harris expressed her concerns to her mother (M.W.'s
grandmother) and the grandmother approached M.W. about the
issue and he confided in her.
Crozier, now thirty-five years old, testified that when he
was a teenager he lived with the Paffords because he came
from a broken home. Crozier noted multiple incidents in which
he walked in on Pafford and Crozier's friend, Greg
Fitcher, during sexual activity. He said he was about fifteen
or sixteen when the first sexual act between him and Pafford
happened. He explained,
[It] was almost every day that he was giving sexual advances.
. . . [If] I came in and asked him for something, he always
expected something in return. He would always say, "You
owe me now." I'd have my shirt off, or something, in
the game room, and he'd come over there and try to rub my
back and it would steadily advance until I would say,
"Get away from me, " or "I am not gay."
He responded, "I'm not gay, either. This is what
friends do for each other."
Battle also testified for the State, explaining that he works
for the Arkansas State Police and is a computer forensic
certified examiner. He was called to investigate the claims
against Pafford. He testified that the police decided they
needed to apply for a search warrant due to M.W.'s
allegations that things were photographed and that he was
shown things on an electronic device. When the police
executed the warrant, they came across a cell phone and
retrieved a picture of Pafford's erect penis from the
phone. The photograph was admitted but not published to the
jury. Battle additionally identified a picture of sex toys
that were seized during the search of Pafford's home.
testified and corroborated the previous testimony. He
identified Pafford in the courtroom as his "Uncle
James." M.W. explained the two incidents in more detail.
M.W. authenticated the picture that Battle had found on the
phone by describing the penis as "swole up, "
"purple and bruised, " and he recognized
Pafford's body because he was "always in them white
socks." The State then published the picture to the
defense put on three witnesses. The first, Evonne White, had
been Pafford's housekeeper for twelve years. She
testified that she never saw or suspected any suspicious
sexual activity. G.G., Pafford's grandson, testified that
his maternal grandfather had never done anything of a sexual
nature to him or, to the best of his knowledge, his friends.
Lastly, Jamie Pafford Gresham, Pafford's daughter,
testified that her parents were always helping people in
the jury found Pafford guilty of all counts, he acquired new
counsel and timely moved for a new trial. Pafford's
arguments in support of a new trial were that there was jury
misconduct; that an expert should not have been permitted to
testify as to the credibility of the victim and his
allegations; and that the trial court erred in allowing the