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DWIGHT COVERSON v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI

APRIL 15, 1993

DWIGHT COVERSON
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI



George Scott Luter, Jackson, for appellant.

Michael C. Moore, Attorney General, Ellen Y. Dale, Sp. Ass't Attorney General, Jackson, for appellee.

BEFORE PRATHER, P.J., PITTMAN AND SMITH, JJ.

PRATHER, PRESIDING JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

 I. INTRODUCTION

 In this burglary and attempted sexual-assault case, the defendant, Dwight Coverson, broke into Curtescine Lloyd's home in Edwards, Mississippi, on the night of February 3, 1990. Coverson burglarized Lloyd's home and then attempted - but failed - to sexually assault her. A subsequent investigation by the Hinds County Sheriff's Department led to Coverson's arrest. A jury in the Hinds County Circuit Court found Coverson guilty, for which the trial judge sentenced him to a total of 25 years' imprisonment.

 A. Detailed Facts *fn1

 The victim in this case provided a factual account of the events:

 Okay, I heard this noise [around midnight on February 3]. It didn't seem to be a loud noise. I'm a real light sleeper, so I woke up. I didn't think

 anything about it because my aunt lived with me and I thought maybe she had got sick during the night because she does get sick sometimes. So I turned over in bed. I always leave a night light burning in my bathroom. My bathroom is exactly across the hall from my bedroom. And I turned over in bed so I could be facing the door so when she walks up, you know, to tell me she was sick I'd see her.

 I heard another noise, and this noise was closer to my bedroom, as if someone had walked into a chair. And I just laid there waiting for her to come. While I was watching, here appeared this man standing in my bedroom door, with a cap turned backwards on his head and both fists balled up and his shoulders slumped over like that. And I laid there and I squinched my eyes to make sure I was awake, and he was standing there trying to focus on me.

 I sat straight up in bed, and I said," Oh, my God! Oh, my God! "And he ran over to the bed as fast as he could and shoved me with his hand open in my chest, and shoved me back in bed. He said," bitch, you'd better not turn on a light. "I had a night-lamp on my nightstand. . . . He said," Bitch, you'd better not turn on a light. "I said," Okay, okay, please, don't kill me; don't kill me. What do you want? Please, don't kill me. "And I was pleading with him. He stood there for a minute, right close beside my bed. He said," Bitch, if you holler, you're dead. You'd better not breathe loud. "And I was saying," Okay, okay, please, don't kill me. What do you want? Please don't kill me. "

 He says," Wait a minute. "He said," First, I'm gonna get me some of this. I don't know, I might kill you. "He said," But first I'm gonna get me some of this. "And I said" Oh, my God! "He said," Bitch, what did you say? "I said," Nothing, nothing. "And he said," Okay, I'm going to take my clothes off. "He said," You listen. I'm going to take my clothes off. "He says," And if you breathe loud, bitch, you're dead. "I said," Okay. "And I started back to saying" Lord, have mercy. "Every time I'd say something he'd say," Shut, up, Bitch! "I said," Okay, okay. "

 He pulled his shoes off. He didn't bend. He slipped his shoes off like that. He says," Okay, I'm pulling off my shirt. "By this time the light across the gas company along with the light in my bathroom, I'm focusing on his hand. He kept this fist balled up, and he was undoing his shirt. First he threw his cap off, over by a recliner chair. He says," Okay, I'm taking off my shirt now. "He said," And you better not move. "And I'm focusing on his fist to see he's holding something in his hand. He took his shirt off and threw it on the floor. He told me step by step what he was taking off." I'm taking off my pants. "He slipped out of his pants, and he crawled up into bed. And I had my legs together like this, and he shoved my legs open and pulled my gown up, and I had on underwear. He felt me down there and he felt the underwear. He said," Bitch, take these panties off. "I took them off and threw them on the side of the bed. Then he rubbed his hands down between my legs. And I said," Oh, my God. "He said," What did you say? "He said," Wait a minute. First, Bitch, you're gonna suck my dick. "And I thought," Oh, my God! "He said - I said," Okay, okay, come on. "He crawled up to the top of the bed, and he sat in a sitting position. I have a tall headboard on my bed, and he sat in a sitting position; and I scooted down in bed and put one foot, braced one of my feet on the floor, my right foot. And I said," Where is it? Where is it? "

 And I got it, I grabbed it by my right hand; and when I grabbed it I gave it a yank. And when I yanked it, I twisted all at the same time.

 . . . .

 [Again,] I grabbed his penis with my right hand, and I twisted and pulled it all at the same time. And he hit me with his right hand a hard blow beside the head, and when he hit me I grabbed ahold to his scrotum with my left hand and I was twisting it the opposite way. He started to yell and we fell to the floor, and he hit me a couple more licks; but they were light licks. He was weakening some then. Then he leaned over across me and bit me on my right shoulder. While

 he was biting me I was still hanging onto him, and then I got his neck with my mouth and started biting it. Then I thought," Well, he might have Aids [sic], "and I let go of his neck, still holding onto him. And he was tussling and trying to hit me and trying to get out of the way, and I don't know how we managed to get out of the bedroom into the hallway. He was trying to get out, and I'm hanging onto him; and he was throwing me from one side of the hall wall to the other.

 . . . .

 . . . . I was afraid if I let him go he was going to kill me.

 [H]e was a young man, I could see he was a young man, and I've never gone through anything like this before. I didn't have anything to defend myself with.

 So I was determined I was not going to turn it aloose. So we were going down the hallway, falling from one side to the other, and we got into the living room and we both fell. He brought me down right in front of the couch, and he leaned back against the couch like this, pleading with me. Well, at that point the night light from the bathroom was shining right across his forehead, and I'm still hollering at him, and I start using some curse words to him. I said," Goddamn it - "

 He was pleading. He says," You've got me. You've got me. Please, you've got me. "I said," I know Goddamn well I've got you. "He said," Please, please, you're killing me; you're killing me. "I said," Well, die, son-of-a-bitch. "I said," Die, then. "I said," Son-of-a-bitch, you just won't die for me, will you? "And I couldn't get him to die. He said," I can't do nothing; I can't do nothing. Call the police; call the police. "I said," Do you think I'm stupid enough to turn you aloose and call the police? "He said," Well, what am I gonna do? "I said," You're gonna get the Goddamn hell out of my house. "He said," Well, how can I get out of your house and you won't let me go? "He said," How can I get out? I can't get out. "I said," Break out, son-of-a-bitch; you broke in, didn't you? "

 And I was still holding him.

 He said," I can't do nothing. "He said," Oh, you've got me suffering. Lady, you've got me suffering. "He said," Woman, you've got me suffering. "I said," Have you thought about how you were going to have me suffering? "He said," Well, I can't do nothing now. "I said," Well, that's fine. "I said," And we'll stay right here until my brother comes. He'll be here at five o'clock anyway. "

 So I said," I've got two locks on my door, a deadbolt lock and a night lock. "And I said," Damn it, you're gonna undo both of them. "So we go to the door. We fumble to the door. He gets up to the lock and he's in so much pain he'd come back down to the floor and I'd make him get back up to the locks. So he managed to get one aloose and he pulled it. He said," I'm out. "I said," No, there's another one. "He undid that one. He still thought he was out. I said," The screen door is locked. "And he undid the screen door. He said," I'm out! I'm out! "I said," No, damn it, come on. You're going to the end of the porch. "I said," I'm taking your ass to the end of the porch. "I said," And when I turn you aloose, I'm going to go get my gun and I'm going to blow your mother-fucking brains out. "I said," You nasty, stinking, lowdown, dirty piece of shit, you! "And when I did that I gave it a twist, and I turned him aloose. And he made a couple of steps and then he fell off of the steps and he jumped up and took his right hand and grabbed down here his private area, and made a couple of jumps across the back of my aunt's car. And I ran into my aunt's room, got her pistol from underneath the nightstand, ran back to the screen door, and I fired two shots down the hill the way I saw him go. And then I ran back into the house and dialed 911 and called my brother, and he came over.

 Record Vol. II, at 89-94.

 The victim also called the Hinds County Sheriff's Department; Deputy Dennis Moulder responded to her call. Moulder recovered Coverson's clothing which Coverson had left behind in the victim's bedroom. Deputy Moulder found the words," Dwight

 Coverson, "written on the inside of the pants' front pocket. At approximately 4:15 a.m., Moulder drove to Coverson's home - located near the victim's home - and arrested him and transported him to the Hinds County Jail.

 Moulder advised Coverson of his rights, but he did not interview him until about six hours later - around 11:00 a.m. At that time, Moulder again advised Coverson of his rights. Coverson responded that he understood his rights and wanted to talk. He confessed that he broke into the victim's home - thinking no one was home - to commit a burglary. He also admitted to being under the influence of drugs and alcohol at the time of the incident.

 A Hinds County Grand Jury indicted Coverson for burglary and attempted sexual assault. The trial resulted in a guilty verdict against Coverson. *fn2 Coverson received a five-year sentence for the burglary and a 20-year sentence for the ...


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