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VERNON OSCAR WILLIAMS v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

MAY 03, 1989

VERNON OSCAR WILLIAMS
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



BEFORE ROY NOBLE LEE, PRATHER and BLASS

ROY NOBLE LEE, CHIEF JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

Vernon Oscar Williams was indicted by a Jackson County Grand Jury in January, 1986, for the rape of his twelve-year-old stepdaughter. He was tried twice in the Circuit Court of Jackson County, which trials resulted in mistrials. Williams was tried a third time on the charge January 20, 1987, and the jury returned a unanimous verdict of guilty. Thereupon, Williams was sentenced to twenty-five (25) years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. He appeals to this Court and assigns two errors in the trial below.

Facts

 The evidence reflects that on the first weekend in March, 1985, appellant picked up the victim, her sister, and her nine-year-old brother, Bubba. At the time, the children were living at the residence of their grandmother. Their mother, who was then married to appellant, was working on an offshore oil rig.

 The appellant represented to the grandmother that he wanted to take the children out to eat and to the skating rink, and promised to return them by 10:30 p.m., since they were supposed to attend church on Sunday, March 3. However, the appellant took the children directly to his apartment on Richard Street in Moss Point, where the victim ended up spending the entire weekend. Appellant took the sister to the grandmother's

 home Saturday night around 10 p.m. because she wanted to return there for the night.

 The victim testified that on March 4, 1985, which was the Monday before the appellant was supposed to go to Louisiana to pick up her mother from work, she and Bubba were still with the appellant. On the evening of March 4, the victim was getting ready to go to sleep on the couch with Bubba when the appellant told her to come into his bedroom and get in bed with him.

 The victim testified that the appellant woke her up early on the morning of March 5; that it was still dark and he placed a yellow handled knife to her throat and ordered her to undress; and that the appellant then engaged in sexual intercourse with her. Thereafter, the appellant threatened to kill her and her mother if she told anyone about the incident.

 Bubba testified at the trial that he was lying on the couch when the appellant took the victim by the arm and dragged her into the bedroom; that he waited approximately ten minutes, then walked to the appellant's bedroom and looked through the partially open door, and saw appellant and the victim naked on the bed; that the appellant was on top of the victim and they appeared to be fighting; that he heard the victim telling the appellant to get off of her, and that during this incident, it appeared that the appellant had a knife in his hand; and that he wasn't certain about it being a knife, but it was yellow in color.

 Bubba stated that he watched the appellant and the victim for approximately ten minutes and then returned to the couch in the living room. He saw his sister, who was naked, come out of the bedroom and walk to the bathroom. She took a bath and then called him into the bathroom and informed him about what happened. The appellant came out of his bedroom and told Bubba to leave the bathroom. The appellant then offered Bubba $10.00 not to tell anyone about the incident. The child refused the offer.

 Approximately nine (9) months later, the victim informed her grandmother as to what had taken place back in March. Her grandmother immediately took her to the district attorney and charges were filed against the appellant. Thereafter, she was examined by a Dr. Clifford A. Seyler, who is a pediatrician. Dr. Seyler testified at trial that the victim's hymen had been torn and that this could have happened any time longer than two weeks prior to his examination.

 Law

 I.

 THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN OVERRULING APPELLANT'S OBJECTIONS TO QUESTIONS ASKED OF, AND ANSWERS GIVEN, BY THE VICTIM CONCERNING NON-SPECIFIC THREATS COMMUNICATED TO AND/OR CARRIED OUT AGAINST THE WITNESS BY THE APPELLANT AND BEING IN ...


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