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Devries v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division II

October 23, 2019

Bruce Wayne DEVRIES, Appellant
v.
STATE of Arkansas, Appellee

Page 140

          APPEAL FROM THE SALINE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 63CR-17-335], HONORABLE GRISHAM PHILLIPS, JUDGE

          Terry Goodwin Jones, for appellant.

         Leslie Rutledge, Att’y Gen., by: Rachel Kemp, Senior Ass’t Att’y Gen., for appellee.

          OPINION

         PHILLIP T. WHITEAKER, Judge.

Page 141

          Bruce Wayne Devries was convicted by a Saline County jury of one count of rape; one count of sexual assault; three counts of video voyeurism; and thirty-two counts of distributing, possessing, or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child. He was sentenced to forty years’ imprisonment for rape, twenty years’ imprisonment for sexual assault, six years’ imprisonment on each count of video voyeurism, and ten years’ imprisonment and a $10,000 fine on each of the thirty-two counts of distributing, possessing, or viewing matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child. He appeals his convictions, challenging the sufficiency of the evidence to support his convictions and arguing that the trial court erred in allowing one of the victims to testify. We affirm.

          I. Sufficiency of the Evidence

          Devries’s first argument is a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence of each of his convictions.[1] When reviewing a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, this court assesses the evidence in the light most favorable to the State and considers only the evidence that supports the verdict. Id. We test the sufficiency of the evidence to determine whether the verdict is supported by substantial evidence, direct or circumstantial. Wyles v. State, 368 Ark. 646, 249 S.W.3d 782 (2007); Boyd v. State, 2016 Ark.App. 407, 500 S.W.3d 772. Substantial evidence is evidence that is of sufficient force and character that will, with reasonable certainty, compel a conclusion one way or the other, without resorting to speculation or conjecture. Hinton v. State, 2015 Ark. 479, 477 S.W.3d 517. With these standards in mind, we consider the evidence presented to the jury relating to each conviction.

          A. Rape and Sexual Assault

         Devries’s first challenge is to the sufficiency of the evidence to support his rape and sexual-assault convictions.[2] He asserts that these crimes involved the same victim, CC,[3] his now nineteen-year-old stepdaughter. At trial, CC testified that Devries began sexually abusing her when she was in fifth grade while they lived in Kansas, it lasted through several interstate moves, and it continued while they were living in Arkansas. CC testified that the abuse included inappropriate touching and digital penetration. CC admitted that she had originally accused her biological father of being her abuser instead of Devries, but she did so only because she was afraid of Devries. She reported that Devries had threatened that she would be sent to foster care away from her family and that he would hurt her mother if she told what had happened between them.

          Devries argues that this evidence was insufficient to convict him of either rape or sexual assault. He claims that because CC had previously accused her biological father of abusing her and then subsequently changed her story to identify him as the abuser, she cannot be believed. While he admits that a rape victim’s testimony alone is sufficient to support a rape conviction, he claims CC’s credibility was "nonexistent"

Page 142

and therefore cannot support a conviction. We ...


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