RYAN P. CATLEDGE A/K/A RYAN PAUL CATLEDGE A/K/A RYAN CATLEDGE, APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 05/14/2013.
COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: WINSTON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, HON. JOSEPH H. LOPER JR,
FOR APPELLANT: MICHAEL D. GOGGANS, JOHN DICKSON MAYO.
FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: MELANIE DOTSON THOMAS.
BEFORE GRIFFIS, P.J., ROBERTS AND FAIR, JJ. LEE, C.J., GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL AND JAMES, JJ., CONCUR. IRVING, P.J., CONCURS IN PART AND IN THE RESULT WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION.
[¶1] Ryan Catledge was convicted of the statutory rape of " Samantha," who was eleven or twelve years of age at the relevant time. Catledge, who was twenty years old, was regarded as the victim's stepbrother, though their parents were not actually married. He appeals his conviction, contending that the circuit court erroneously failed to suppress his confession. Catledge also challenges the circuit court's ruling on an evidentiary issue. We find that the circuit court acted within its discretion in both instances, and so we affirm.
1. Admissibility of Confession
[¶2] We can reverse a trial court's denial of a motion to suppress only " if the incorrect legal principle was applied; if there was no substantial evidence to support a voluntary, knowing, and intelligent waiver of Miranda rights; and if the denial was a result of manifest error." Scott v. State, 8 So.3d 855, 861 (¶ 22) (Miss. 2008). " The burden lies with the State to prove that a confession is voluntary." Id. at (¶ 24). " [T]he burden is met by the testimony of an officer, or other person having knowledge of the facts, that the confession was voluntarily made without any threats, coercion, or offer of reward. This makes out a prima facie case for the State on the question of voluntariness." Id. (citation and quotation marks omitted). " The trial judge must determine beyond a reasonable doubt that a confession was voluntary and knowing and that the defendant was given his Miranda rights prior to any custodial interrogation." Id. at (¶ 23).
[¶3] Catledge executed a written waiver of his Miranda rights and hand-wrote the following confession (with minor corrections to spelling and punctuation):
October 2011 15. I was drunk and high. I didn't know better. I made a mistake by having sex with my stepsister. I
know it was wrong. I'm willing to do anything in my power to change my life and start over with a new life. I was sleeping on the air mattress with [Samantha] that night. When we had sex, I ...