FROM THE WASHINGTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 72CR-15-2356-7]
HONORABLE JOANNA TAYLOR, JUDGE
Law Firm, by: Michael Kiel Kaiser and William O.
"Bill" James, Jr., for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Brooke Jackson Gasaway,
Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.
MARK KLAPPENBACH, Judge
Richard Leroy Turner was found guilty by a jury of kidnapping
following a trial in Washington County Circuit Court. This
charge related to allegations that Turner attacked April
Robertson as she ran on a trail around Lake Fayetteville,
dragging her off the trail and into the woods. The jury
sentenced Turner, as a habitual offender, to thirty years in
prison. Turner appeals and argues that the trial court
committed reversible error in the following ways: (1) by
denying his motion for directed verdict; (2) by denying his
motions for a continuance and mistrial and by improperly
restricting his cross examination of a law enforcement
witness, all related to alleged discovery violations by the
State; (3) by permitting improper Rule 404(b) evidence; and
(4) by refusing to appoint a special prosecutor. We affirm.
evidence presented at trial is as follows. On a Sunday
afternoon in September 2015, April Robertson began a run
along the paved trail at the lake. She was wearing a headband
and had earbuds in her ears to listen to music. Robertson
passed by a man, later identified as Turner, whom she
described as being a white male of average height and weight,
with short dark hair and a scruffy face, wearing a dark
shirt, cargo shorts, a ball cap, sunglasses, a backpack, and
a ring that had the word "dad" on it. He was not
wearing athletic clothing. She said that Turner looked at
her, smiled, and waved. Shortly thereafter, Turner ran up
behind her, put his arm over her shoulder, grabbed her around
the neck, tackled her to the ground, got on top of her, and
began to beat her in the face. Robertson testified that
Turner pinned her to the ground by straddling her with one
leg on either side of her. She lost count of how many times
she was punched, but she knew that it was at least seven
times and that he used both fists. When she screamed, Turner
choked her to get her to stop, wrapping both hands around her
neck and making it difficult for her to breathe. She said
that Turner alternated between punching her, choking her, and
putting his hand over her mouth to stop her from screaming.
Turner grabbed her by the shoulders and dragged her into the
woods through brush and briars, so far that she could no
longer see the paved running trail. She recalled that he
threatened her if she screamed again. Robertson was
eventually able to stand up a few feet away from Turner, and
she asked why he had attacked her. She said that Turner told
her that someone had taken his daughter and that there were
"blacks in the woods" with guns who would have
picked her off the trail if he had not. Turner also told her
that if she called emergency services, someone would kill his
daughter. Then, he asked to use her cell phone. Instead,
Robertson called her boyfriend to tell him what had happened;
Turner was pacing back and forth. She asked Turner where the
paved trail was, he pointed it out to her, and he started
walking in that direction. When they reached the trail,
Turner went left and she went right. Robertson called 911 and
described Turner as a white male in his midthirties of
average height and weight, and she described what he was
police officer Mike Hammons arrived on scene, Robertson was
crying, shaking, and visibly upset with scrapes on her arms
and legs and marks on her face. Photographs of her injuries
were entered into evidence. Another officer, Shawn Allen,
searched the area and found Robertson's headband and
earbuds along with a pair of sunglasses. Subsequent DNA
testing provided a link between the sunglasses and Turner.
When he was arrested in November 2015, Turner was wearing a
gold ring that had the word "dad" on it; he claimed
to have lost another similar ring that was silver.
Creed was biking on the same trail on the same afternoon that
Robertson was attacked. Creed testified that he saw Turner
twice on the trail that day about thirty minutes apart.
Creed's description of what Turner was wearing was very
similar to the description given by Robertson. Creed had seen
a news report about the attack that night on television, and
after hearing the victim's description, he called the
Fayetteville police. At trial, Creed identified Turner as the
man he had seen that day, stating that he had come within
five feet of Turner and had gotten a good look at him.
Rogers testified that she was running on the Lake
Fayetteville trails on Saturday, the day before Robertson was
attacked. Rogers testified that she heard a man run up behind
her, and when she turned around, they were face to face, he
apologized, and he ran in the opposite direction. Rogers said
that the man had dark hair, scruff on his face because he was
not clean shaven, light eyes, and he was wearing pants that
were "regular clothes, " a hat, and boots. She
testified that she thought the man was going to attack her
and that she was very scared. At trial, Rogers was "100%
certain" that Turner was that man.
moved for directed verdict at the appropriate times during
trial, and those motions were denied. In the motions, Turner
argued that there was insufficient evidence to identify him
as the perpetrator, to show that he interfered substantially
with Robertson's liberty, or to prove that he had the
purpose to inflict physical injury or to terrorize her.
Turner was convicted, and this appeal followed.
first argument on appeal, Turner challenges the denial of his
motions for directed verdict. He reasserts the same bases he
raised at trial. We find none of his arguments persuasive,
which we will now explain.
review the denial of a directed-verdict motion challenging
the sufficiency of the evidence, we view the evidence in the
light most favorable to the verdict. Conway v.
State, 2016 Ark. 7, 479 S.W.3d 1. That means we consider
only the evidence that supports the verdict and determine
whether the verdict is supported by substantial evidence.
Id. Substantial evidence is evidence of sufficient
certainty and precision to compel a conclusion one way or
another and pass beyond mere suspicion or conjecture.
Holly v. State, 2017 Ark. 201, 520 S.W.3d 677. We do
not weigh the evidence presented at trial or assess the
credibility of the witnesses, as those are matters for the
fact-finder. Reynolds v. State, 2016 Ark. 214, 492
was charged with kidnapping pursuant to Arkansas Code
Annotated section 5-11-102(a)(4) and (a)(6) (Repl. 2013). The
amended felony information alleged that Turner, without
Robertson's consent, restrained her and interfered
substantially with her liberty with the purpose of inflicting
physical injury on her or terrorizing her. "Restraint
without consent" includes restraint by physical force,
threat, or deception. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-11-101(3)(A).
In defining kidnapping, the Criminal Code speaks in terms of
restraint rather than removal. Snider v. State, 2010
Ark.App. 694, 378 S.W.3d 264. Hence, the statute reaches a
greater variety of conduct because restraint can be
accomplished without removal. McFarland v. State,
337 Ark. 386, 989 S.W.2d 899 (1999). A person ...