FROM THE MILLER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 46CR-17-160]
HONORABLE BRENT HALTOM, JUDGE
Phillip A. McGough, P.A., by: Phillip A. McGough, for
Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Jacob H. Jones, Ass't
Att'y Gen., for appellee.
MARK KLAPPENBACH, JUDGE
Ulrick Hillman was tried before a Miller County jury on a
charge of rape. The jury convicted him, and he was sentenced
to ten years in prison. On appeal, appellant challenges the
sufficiency of the evidence to support the element of
forcible compulsion against the victim. We affirm.
standard of appellate review is well settled. The test for
determining the sufficiency of the evidence is whether the
verdict is supported by substantial evidence, direct or
circumstantial. Estrada v. State, 2011 Ark. 3, 376
S.W.3d 395; Moore v. State, 355 Ark. 657, 144 S.W.3d
260 (2004). Substantial evidence is evidence forceful enough
to compel a conclusion one way or the other beyond suspicion
or conjecture. Smith v. State, 352 Ark. 92, 98
S.W.3d 433 (2003). When a defendant challenges the
sufficiency of the evidence convicting him, the evidence is
viewed in the light most favorable to the State, and only
evidence supporting the verdict will be considered.
criminal information charged appellant with rape, accusing
him of engaging in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual
activity with the victim, DS, by forcible compulsion.
See Ark. Code Ann. § 5-14-103(a)(1) (Supp.
2017). "Forcible compulsion" means physical force
or a threat, express or implied, of death or physical injury
to or kidnapping of any person. Ark. Code Ann. §
5-14-101(2) (Supp. 2017). The supreme court has defined the
term "physical force" as any bodily impact,
restraint or confinement, or the threat thereof. Ellis v.
State, 364 Ark. 538, 222 S.W.3d 192 (2006). The test we
use to determine if there was physical force is whether the
act was against the will of the party upon whom the act was
committed. Goodman v. State, 2009 Ark.App. 262, 306
S.W.3d 443. The existence of forcible compulsion does not
depend on the quantum of force that is applied but rather on
whether the act is consummated against the victim's will.
Johnson v. State, 80 Ark.App. 79, 94 S.W.3d 344
(2002). A rape victim's testimony alone can constitute
substantial evidence to support a rape conviction. Henson
v. State, 2009 Ark.App. 464, 320 S.W.3d 19. The jury has
the sole authority to evaluate the credibility of evidence
and to apportion the weight to be given to the evidence.
Starling v. State, 2016 Ark. 20, 480 S.W.3d 158.
evidence in this case is reviewed here in the light most
favorable to the State.The twenty-year-old female victim, DS,
went to a nightclub around 11:00 p.m. with her friends.
Appellant, a thirty-three-year-old man, was at the nightclub.
DS knows appellant because he is the foster brother of her
children's father. Appellant had been to her apartment
and stayed overnight before with his foster brother.
Appellant told DS that he was coming to her apartment when he
left the club, but DS told him no. DS left the nightclub
around 2:00 a.m., and she was admittedly drunk at that time.
DS went home and went to bed wearing a t-shirt and panties;
she left her television on, and she fell asleep.
later awakened by the sound of someone banging on her door.
She did not answer the door and went back to sleep. She later
heard a window opening, but she was in a dream-like state and
did not get up to check. DS was awakened around 4:00 a.m. by
appellant, who was naked and getting into her bed. She asked
appellant what he was doing there and how he got in, but
appellant did not respond. She repeatedly told him to leave
but he did not. DS testified that appellant climbed on top of
her, pushed her on her back, forced her legs open, pulled her
panties to the side, and vaginally penetrated her repeatedly
with his penis. DS, who is 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighs
128 pounds, tried to fight and struggle, and she repeatedly
told him to stop, but appellant pinned her arms down and told
her to "just let him do it." Appellant finally got
off her, got dressed, and eventually left. DS kept on the
t-shirt and panties she had worn; she did not bathe.
contacted the police, who came to her apartment and took a
statement from her around 8:30 a.m. Officers described DS as
upset, and they saw that a window did not have a screen on
it. DS told the officers that she had been intoxicated the
night before, but she did not seem to the officers to be
intoxicated at the time she was interviewed. She eventually
told the officers that she knew appellant was the person who
had raped her. DS was told to go to the hospital for a
registered nurse who worked with DS at the hospital testified
that DS told her that the suspect had lain on top of her,
restricted her arms and legs, and penetrated her vagina with
his penis multiple times, although DS did not think he had
ejaculated. DS told the nurse that she struggled against her
assailant. The nurse stated that DS was tearful and that she
complained of soreness in her arms and legs. DS had no
visible signs of injury or bruising. During the examination,
vaginal swabs and cuttings of DS's panties were obtained
to test them for the presence of DNA. DS never stayed at that
police called appellant that day, and he came to the police
station and voluntarily gave a recorded statement at
approximately 1:30 p.m. Appellant said that he knew DS, and
he had heard that DS was accusing him of rape. Appellant
admitted that he had gone to DS's apartment after he had
left the nightclub. He said that he had consumed a few drinks
but that DS was very intoxicated. According to appellant, the
plan was for him to come to DS's apartment to eat with DS
and her cousin. He admittedly had taken the screen off
DS's window but claimed that DS had finally let him in
through the door. At first, appellant denied having any
physical contact with DS, but he later said that he had
touched her buttocks under her panties; he denied touching
her vaginal area. He vehemently denied having had sex with DS
and described her as crazy. Appellant voluntarily provided a
from the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory showed the presence
of a component of semen in the panties and sperm in DS's
vagina. Appellant and his male relatives could not be
excluded as the source of the sperm.
argues that the circuit court erred in denying his motion for
directed verdict in which he had argued that the State failed
to prove "forcible compulsion." He contends that DS
was very intoxicated that night, that she made demonstrably
untrue statements in her testimony, and that there "is a
complete absence of corroborating evidence which demonstrates
any force was used on" her. Appellant points to the lack
of objective evidence of physical trauma, noting the absence
of evidence of swelling, bruising, or the like. ...