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Bowman v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas

April 24, 2019

JOSEPH BOWMAN APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE

          APPEAL FROM THE LITTLE RIVER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 41CR-18-8] HONORABLE TOM COOPER, JUDGE

          Phillip A. McGough, P.A., by: Phillip A. McGough, for appellant.

          Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Rebecca Kane, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

          KENNETH S. HIXSON, JUDGE

         Appellant Joseph Bowman appeals after he was convicted by a Little River County Circuit Court jury of rape and was sentenced to serve a total of 300 months' imprisonment. On appeal, appellant contends that the trial court erred by denying his motion for directed verdict for two reasons: (1) it was impossible for him to have committed the crime on the date charged in the information because he was deployed by the military overseas; and (2) the State failed to prove the element of sexual gratification. We affirm.

         I. Relevant Facts

         In summary, appellant was charged with and convicted of raping S.R., his minor stepdaughter, in violation of Arkansas Code Annotated section 5-14-103 (Supp. 2017). At trial, S.R.'s mother, Lisa Marie Bowman, testified that she was still married to appellant but that they had separated in June 2017. Appellant was in the military and had been deployed to Africa during most of 2017. Lisa and appellant have three other children together, and appellant is S.R.'s stepfather. Lisa explained that she and the children have lived in several different homes. However, S.R. specifically referred to the white house on County Road 716 that they had lived in from 2011 until the end of 2015 as "Papa Terry's house."

         Lisa testified that S.R. was thirteen years old at the time of trial. However, due to her learning disabilities, S.R. had the mentality of only a third grader. Lisa testified that she had reported her daughter's rape to law enforcement on October 21, 2017. Lisa explained that she overheard S.R. asking her younger brother whether he would "play with [himself] down there." After Lisa confronted S.R., she realized that she needed to report the information to law enforcement.

         Lisa admitted on cross-examination that she had been arguing with appellant through Facebook Messenger on October 7, 2017, and that she had threatened that she would "f*** [his] life up." However, Lisa explained that they routinely had heated exchanges similar to the ones introduced at trial. She testified that appellant had also threatened that he would have her imprisoned for using his money for the children. Moreover, Lisa denied that she knew anything about the rape allegations until she overheard S.R. talking to her brother on October 21, 2017.

         S.R. testified that appellant had forced her to perform oral sex on him on two separate occasions. The first occasion occurred at "Papa Terry's house." She explained that her mother had been at the store and that she had been in her mother's bedroom when it happened. The second occasion occurred when she had been in the woods hunting with appellant.

         Blake Eudy, a criminal investigator for the Howard County Sheriff's Department, testified that appellant agreed to undergo a computer voice-stress-analysis test that Eudy conducted during the investigation. Appellant was advised of his Miranda rights and signed a stipulation/agreement before the test was conducted. In addition to several other irrelevant "control questions," appellant was specifically asked whether he had "ever fingered S.R." or whether he had S.R. ever give him "head." Appellant failed the test, and the results of the test indicated that appellant was being deceptive when he provided negative answers to those two questions. Eudy testified that after he told appellant about the failed test, appellant told him about a dream that he had three months before his deployment to Africa. Appellant indicated that he had a dream about S.R. "giving him head" and that when he woke up, he realized that it was not a dream. Portions of the audio recordings from the test and discussion were played for the jury and admitted into evidence.

         Brandon Kennemore, an investigator for the Little River County Sheriff's Office, testified that he investigated the allegations and interviewed appellant at the sheriff's office after appellant had been read his Miranda rights. Portions of the video recordings from that interview were played for the jury and admitted into evidence. During that interview, appellant stated that he woke up one night to S.R. performing oral intercourse on him. He explained that he "[g]ot on to her" and told her to go back to her room. Appellant then stated that he thought it was just a dream.

         Appellant testified at trial on his own behalf. Although his testimony was inconsistent at times, appellant generally denied raping S.R. Appellant admitted that three months before his deployment to Africa, S.R. was only eleven years old. Appellant testified that he woke up one night and found S.R. "attempting to do something" to him. He stated that he told her to leave the room. He denied that his penis was erect or that he achieved any sexual gratification. Appellant opined that the allegations were Lisa's "way of trying to exact revenge" on him. On cross-examination, appellant admitted that he had told law enforcement that he had a dream and that S.R. had her mouth on his penis when he woke up. However, at trial, appellant denied that S.R. ever had her mouth on his penis and that it "didn't ever make it to that point." Later in his testimony, appellant stated that he had a dream about S.R. "giving [him] a blow job [in which he] finished." However, he then clarified that this dream was separate from the time that he had a dream and woke up to S.R. attempting to do something to him. Instead, he stated that the incident in which S.R. had attempted to do something to him occurred in July 2014. The jury found appellant guilty, and he was sentenced to serve a total of 300 months' imprisonment. This appeal followed.

         II. Motion for ...


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