L.A. BARKSDALE, APPELLANT,
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE.
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 10/15/2013.
ATTALA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, TRIAL JUDGE: HON. C.E. MORGAN III.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER GEORGE T. HOLMES.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL LISA L. BLOUNT.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: DOUG EVANS.
BEFORE LEE, C.J., BARNES AND MAXWELL, JJ.
¶1. A jury in the Attala County Circuit Court found L.A. Barksdale guilty of statutory rape of a child under fourteen years. The trial court sentenced Barksdale to thirty years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Barksdale filed post-trial motions, which were denied by the trial court. Barksdale now appeals and asserts the following: (1) the trial court erred by conducting the trial in his absence, and (2) the trial court erred by denying his request for funds to hire an expert witness.
¶2. On October 19, 2012, thirteen-year-old Jane spent the night with her half-siblings at their father's home in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Barksdale, forty-nine, was also at the home. Jane had met Barksdale on two prior occasions. He sometimes babysat Jane's half-sisters.
¶3. Jane testified that in the early morning hours of October 20, 2012, Jane was sleeping on the couch when Barksdale got on top of her, pulled her pants down, and had vaginal intercourse with her. Jane testified that she cried and tried to shove Barksdale off of her, but she did not call for help. Jane testified that after Barksdale ejaculated inside of her vagina, he stood up, handed her ten dollars, and went to the bathroom. While Barksdale was in the bathroom, Jane ran to her half-sister's room to tell her what had happened. Jane's half-sister then woke Clifford, her father, and told him. Clifford got up, knocked on the bathroom door, and asked Barksdale what had happened. Jane testified that when Barksdale did not respond, Clifford went back to sleep. Barksdale left later that morning.
¶4. That same day, Jane went to a fair with her half-sisters and her godmother, Lashonda. Jane testified that she did not tell anyone else about the rape because she was scared. At church the following day, however, Jane decided to tell Lashonda what had happened. Lashonda took her directly to the hospital. A sexual-assault examination was performed by a nurse certified for such examination. Law enforcement was notified and retrieved the material the nurse gathered from Jane.
¶5. When law enforcement went to Barksdale's residence, Barksdale's father answered the door. While Officer Zelie Shaw of the Attala County Sheriff's Department waited at the front door for Barksdale, two other officers apprehended Barksdale as he exited the back door. After Barksdale was advised of his Miranda rights, he gave a written statement. In his statement, he admitted to being at Clifford's home the night of the ...