FROM THE CRAIGHEAD COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, WESTERN DISTRICT
[NO. 16JCR-16-716] HONORABLE TONYA M. ALEXANDER, JUDGE
Jaeger, for appellant.
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Jacob H. Jones, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
RAYMOND R. ABRAMSON, Judge.
Gilton was convicted of two counts of sexual assault
following a bench trial in the Craighead County Circuit
Court. Gilton's sole argument on appeal is that the
State's evidence did not sufficiently prove that he
committed sexual assault; thus, the circuit court erred in
denying his motion for a directed verdict. We affirm.
Hall is the mother of J.W. Hall testified that in February
2016, she had asked Gilton-J.W.'s paternal
step-grandfather-to babysit J.W. while she ran some errands.
At that time, J.W. was seven years old and Gilton was
sixty-three years old. Upon returning home, Hall discovered
J.W. in her underwear. According to Hall, J.W. had on a
t-shirt and pajama pants when she left the home to run
Hall asked J.W. what had occurred, J.W. dropped her head and
ran out of the room. Hall said she heard J.W. tell Gilton
that she was going to tell on him for what he had done to her
and Gilton stated that J.W. should "not do that or [we]
would both get into trouble." After J.W. and
Gilton's conversation, J.W. returned to the room and
informed Hall that Gilton had tried to "hump" her.
Hall asked Gilton about his actions, and Gilton informed Hall
that he and J.W. were only wrestling. At that point, Hall no
longer wanted Gilton at her home and asked Gilton's
sister to pick him up.
Hall and J.W. informed the Jonesboro Police Department that
Gilton had sexually assaulted J.W. Officer Tyler Wilson
completed an incident report and referred Hall to the Crimes
Against Children Division (CACD) of the Arkansas State
Police. Hall subsequently reported the information to the
CACD. On February 17, 2016, Lesley Faulkner of the CACD
interviewed J.W., videotaped the interview, and provided a
transcribed copy of the interview to law enforcement.
August 10, 2016, the State filed two counts of sexual assault
against Gilton. The first count stemmed from the February
2016 allegations, and the second count stemmed from actions
that were alleged to have occurred between October and
November 2014. On September 15, 2017, the State filed an
amended information charging Gilton as a habitual offender.
Gilton waived his right to a jury trial, and a bench trial
primary witnesses, the State called J.W., Officer Wilson,
Hall, Faulkner of the CACD, Annie Calwell, and Raymond
Willison. J.W. testified that (1) she was home alone
with Gilton in February 2016; (2) Gilton was in her bedroom;
(3) Gilton called her to the bedroom; (4) she got under the
covers with him because she was cold; (5) Gilton got on top
of her and started to "hump" her; (6) she told him
to get off, but Gilton ignored her and continued to
"hump" her; and (7) Gilton also "put his
tongue in [her] mouth and kissed [her]." Additionally,
J.W. testified that Gilton had bathed her a few times before
February 2016. She said Gilton had washed her vagina,
buttocks, and nipples.
is J.W.'s godmother and Hall's best friend, and she
testified that sometime before 2016, she once heard Gilton
talking about bathing J.W. Although she had never witnessed
Gilton acting inappropriately with J.W., Calwell stated that
she informed Gilton that J.W. was mature enough to bathe
herself. Willison, Hall's former boyfriend, testified
that he had seen, on a separate occasion before the February
2016 sexual assault, Gilton bathing and touching J.W. After
the State rested, Gilton moved for a directed verdict, which
the circuit court denied.
then presented his case-in-chief. He called Jessie Mae Gilton
as his witness. Jessie Mae is Gilton's wife, and she
testified that they were separated but while they were
together, she had never witnessed Gilton acting
inappropriately while J.W. or any other grandchild was in his
care. Gilton renewed his motion for a directed verdict, and
the circuit court denied it again. The circuit court found
Gilton guilty of both counts of sexual assault. In its oral
ruling, the circuit court stated,
The State has produced the proof concerning the age elements.
The Court finds that there has been sufficient proof of
sexual gratification and of sexual contact. The testimony of
the witness Willison was credible. The timeframe bay [sic] be
off and the Court will allow it because the child is a victim
and the decision is based on the testimony of the statement
of the child of the touching of the breasts. I also find that
it makes no difference that he was fully clothed when I am
finding him guilty because the statute states it can be
circuit court entered its order on January 25, 2018,
sentencing Gilton to eight years' imprisonment on the
first count and twelve years' imprisonment on the second
count. This timely appeal followed. Gilton's sole
argument on appeal is that the circuit court erred in failing
to grant his motion for a directed verdict because ...