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Nunnery v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

November 12, 2013

Twila Dawn NUNNERY a/k/a Twila Nunnery, Appellant
v.
STATE of Mississippi, Appellee.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Shirlee Marie Fager-Baldwin, attorney for appellant.

Office of the Attorney General by Elliott George Flaggs, attorney for appellee.

Before LEE, C.J., MAXWELL and FAIR, JJ.

LEE, C.J.

¶ 1. This appeal arises from Twila Dawn Nunnery's conviction for neglect of her adopted daughter, Jane,[1] and touching her for lustful purposes. Nunnery now appeals, arguing: (1) the trial court erred in allowing hearsay testimony in violation of her confrontation rights and right to a fair trial; (2) the trial court erred in allowing Connie Keene's testimony regarding her interview with Jane because it was improper, prejudicial, and inflammatory; (3) the trial court erred in not allowing the testimony of Dan Smith; (4) the trial court erred in allowing Quentin Nunnery to testify about his relationship with Nunnery prior to their marriage; (5) plain error; and (6) cumulative error.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶ 2. Nunnery was arrested in May 2008, and, in January 2009, was indicted by a Forrest County grand jury for neglect of a child and touching a child for lustful purposes. She was tried in Forrest County Circuit Court on August 10, 2009.

¶ 3. At trial, Quentin, Nunnery's husband, testified that while he began fondling Jane when she was young enough to be given a bath, the sexual abuse escalated in 2007 when she was twelve years old.[2] According to Quentin, he had confessed to Nunnery in 2007 that he had fondled Jane. Quentin stated that after communicating his unhappiness about their marriage to Nunnery, Nunnery brought Jane into the bedroom, and after Nunnery demonstrated oral sex on Quentin, Jane also performed

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oral sex on him. Quentin testified that Nunnery had touched Jane in a sexual manner. Additionally, Quentin stated that he and Nunnery abused Jane four times during the late spring and summer of 2007.

¶ 4. Jane, who was fourteen years old at the time of trial, testified that Quentin began sexually abusing her when she was about six or seven years old. She also testified that Nunnery had demonstrated oral sex on Quentin and that she then performed oral sex on him. During this abuse, Jane, Nunnery, and Quentin were naked in Nunnery's bed. Jane also stated that Nunnery had touched her in a sexual way. Jane could not recall the number of times the abuse occurred, nor could she recall many details about the abuse. When questioned about her lack of memory, Jane stated that she had tried to block the incidents out.

¶ 5. Keene, an investigator with the Forrest County and Perry County District Attorney's Office, testified that she had interviewed Jane and that Jane had told her about the same ...


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