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07/09/96 HENDERSON v. STATE

July 09, 1996

HENDERSON
v.
STATE



Before McMILLIN, P.j., Diaz, And King, JJ.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: McMILLIN, P.j., For The Court

WILLIE HENDERSON A/K/A WILLIE LEE HENDERSON, APPELLANT v. STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE

THIS OPINION IS NOT DESIGNATED FOR PUBLICATION AND MAY NOT BE CITED, PURSUANT TO M.R.A.P. 35-B

TRIAL JUDGE: HON. ELZY JONATHAN SMITH, JR.

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: COAHOMA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT

DISTRICT ATTORNEY: LAWRENCE Y. MELLEN

NATURE OF THE CASE: CRIMINAL - FELONY

TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: RAPE: SENTENCED TO SERVE A TERM OF LIFE IN THE MDOC

DISPOSITION AFFIRMED - 6/23/98

Willie Henderson was convicted of raping the eight-year-old daughter of his live-in female companion. Henderson has appealed, raising as his only issue a challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence. He urges that the victim's uncorroborated testimony cannot support his conviction. For reasons we will set out, we disagree with Henderson's argument and affirm the conviction.

Henderson and his companion lived together with the victim and four young male children. The incident occurred in the residence at a time when all members of the household except Henderson and his victim were asleep. The child maintained that Henderson came into her bedroom on two occasions earlier in the night and attempted to lure her out of the room but that she had refused. On the third occasion, according to the victim, Henderson forced himself on her in her bed. She testified that he held her arms with one of his arms, put his hand over her mouth, and then penetrated her with his penis. She reported that Henderson then left the room and that she went to the bathroom, took a bath, and returned to her bed.

On the morning after the incident, the victim reported Henderson's activities to her brother. By that time, the children were alone in the home with Henderson since their mother had already gone to work. Henderson was supposed to transport the children to their grandmother's for the day and the brother suggested that she tell her grandmother what had transpired when they arrived at her home. The child related the same events to her grandmother who immediately took the child to the hospital. A physical examination was conducted by the doctor and a vaginal wash was obtained and subjected to chemical analysis. The child repeated her version of the events to a number of people while at the hospital.

The examining physician testified at trial and reported observing a tear in the entrance to the victim's vagina that was, in his opinion, consistent with sexual penetration. Chemical analysis of the vaginal wash indicated the presence of acid phosphates, a chemical produced by the male prostate gland and found in seminal fluid, which would not normally be expected to be found in a chaste female's vaginal cavity. On this evidence, the jury found Henderson guilty of the charge of rape.

Henderson's attack on the evidence shifts between two issues. At times, he appears to be attacking the victim's entire story as being implausible on its face. He suggests that her testimony that the rape occurred while two of her brothers, aged four and six, slept undisturbed in the same bed and two more brothers slept without awakening in an ...


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