WILLIAM HENDERSON A/K/A WILLIAM E. HENDERSON A/K/A WILLIAM EARL HENDERSON, APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 04/09/2013.
FROM WHICH APPEALED: YAZOO COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT. TRIAL JUDGE:
HON. JANNIE M. LEWIS. TRIAL COURT DISPOSITION: CONVICTED OF
STATUTORY RAPE AND SENTENCED AS A HABITUAL OFFENDER TO THIRTY
YEARS IN THE CUSTODY OF THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF
CORRECTIONS, WITHOUT THE BENEFIT OF PAROLE OR SUSPENSION OF
APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER, BY: JUSTIN TAYLOR
APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: MELANIE DOTSON
IRVING, P.J., BARNES AND FAIR, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND
GRIFFIS, P.JJ., BARNES, ISHEE, ROBERTS, CARLTON, MAXWELL AND
JAMES, JJ., CONCUR.
William Henderson was convicted of the statutory rape of his
thirteen-year-old cousin, Abby. She testified that
Henderson had repeatedly displayed a pistol to intimidate her
into having sex with him. After their final encounter was
interrupted, Henderson literally jumped out the window of the
victim's bedroom, leaving behind some of his clothes and
a condom wrapper bearing his fingerprint. On appeal, he
raises four varied issues. We find no merit to any of them,
and so we affirm Henderson's conviction and sentence.
Admission of the Letter
The trial court admitted into evidence a handwritten letter
Henderson to a jailmate to be delivered to a friend Henderson
had visited the day of his final sexual encounter with Abby.
In the letter, Henderson asked the friend to testify in his
defense and corroborate his account that he had left the
friend's residence with a girlfriend. It closed by asking
the friend not to say anything about a gun. The letter was
delivered, but the friend's mother found it; and it
ultimately made its way to the authorities. It was offered
into evidence by the prosecution and was admitted into
evidence over Henderson's objection. The friend testified
at trial and contradicted the narrative of the letter in
A trial court's decision to admit or exclude evidence is
reviewed for abuse of discretion. Gillett v. State,
56 So.3d 469, 494 (¶ 61) (Miss. 2010).
The cellmate testified that Henderson gave him a letter and
that he delivered it to the friend. The friend testified that
the letter was the one delivered to him by the cellmate on
Henderson's behalf. Henderson contends that the letter
was not properly authenticated because the handwriting was
never confirmed to be his. Henderson's position is, it
seems, that Mississippi Rule of Evidence 901(b)(2) is the
only way a handwritten note could have been authenticated.
Rule 901(b)(2) does permit authentication of a handwriting by
nonexpert opinion testimony. But Rule ...