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Peoples v. State

Court of Appeals of Arkansas, Division II

December 4, 2019

QUAYVON PEOPLES APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS APPELLEE

          APPEAL FROM THE MILLER COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 46CR-17-4] HONORABLE BRENT HALTOM, JUDGE

          Eric Moore, for appellant.

          Leslie Rutledge, Att'y Gen., by: Michael L. Yarbrough, Ass't Att'y Gen., for appellee.

          BART F. VIRDEN, Judge

         A Miller County jury convicted appellant Quayvon Peoples of two counts of rape, and he was sentenced to an aggregate term of thirty years in the Arkansas Department of Correction. Peoples argues that the trial court erred in denying his directed-verdict motion because the State failed to prove that the alleged events occurred in Miller County, Arkansas, and because the victim's testimony was insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she had been raped.[1] We affirm his convictions.

         I. Standard of Review

         A motion for a directed verdict is a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. Bowman v. State, 2019 Ark.App. 240, 574 S.W.3d 235. When reviewing a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence, this court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the State and considers only the evidence that supports the verdict. Id. The sufficiency of the evidence is tested to determine whether the verdict is supported by substantial evidence, direct or circumstantial. Id. Substantial evidence is evidence that is of sufficient force and character that it will, with reasonable certainty, compel a conclusion one way or the other, without resorting to speculation or conjecture. Id. The credibility of witnesses is an issue for the jury and not the court. Id.

         II. Trial Testimony

         Lisa Grant testified that Peoples is her stepson and that he came to live with her family in 2006 when he was eleven years old. In the ensuing years, they moved several times between Arkansas and Texas. In March 2008, they moved to Harner Street in Texarkana, Miller County, Arkansas. Grant said that the children would describe the house on Harner Street as the one with the sliding glass doors. In April 2010, they moved to Seventh Street in Texas. In July 2011, they moved to Preston Street in Texarkana, Miller County, Arkansas. Grant said that the children referred to the house on Preston Street as the house by the big pool. In 2012, the family moved to Texas and have lived there since that time. Brett Gaitlin, an investigator with the Texarkana, Arkansas, Police Department, confirmed that both Harner Street and Preston Street are in Miller County.

         In May 2016, Grant received a text message from the victim, her daughter A.G., stating that Peoples had been sexually inappropriate with her. A.G., born October 31, 2002, testified that when she was six or seven years old, she was sharing a room with her older sister in the house with the sliding glass doors. She said that Peoples came to her room at night, took her to the living room, undressed her, digitally penetrated her vagina, and put his penis in her vagina. A.G. recalled another incident around that time frame when Peoples took her from her room at night, led her to his bedroom, and had sexual intercourse with her. A.G. testified that when she was seven or eight years old and while they were living in the house by the big pool, Peoples took her from a room where she had been playing with her siblings and forced her to perform oral sex on him in the kitchen.

         J.G., A.G.'s older brother, testified that, while they were living in the house with the sliding glass doors, he saw Peoples on top of A.G. and described Peoples's body as moving in a "stroking motion." J.G. recalled another time when he saw Peoples on top of A.G. doing the same thing, but he testified that this incident happened while they were living in the house by the big pool.

         III. Discussion

         A. Jurisdiction/Venue

         Next, Peoples argues that the State failed to prove that the alleged incidents occurred in Miller County, Arkansas. According to Peoples, the State did not introduce any evidence to corroborate testimony that the Grants lived on Harner ...


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