OF JUDGMENT: 05/09/2014
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. CHARLES E. WEBSTER TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY:
BENJAMIN ALLEN SUBER.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
JEFFREY A. KLINGFUSS.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: BRENDA FAY MITCHELL.
GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES AND CARLTON, JJ.
On December 15, 2012, eight-year-old M.W. was spending the
weekend with her grandmother, S.C. The child informed S.C. that
Jason Bozeman, her uncle, had inappropriately touched her on
several occasions in the past few months. Bozeman, who was
in his thirties, lived in a camper on the same property where
M.W. and her parents resided. S.C. immediately informed the
child's parents, who contacted the Tunica County
Sheriff's Department. A forensic interview with the child
took place January 24, 2013; no physical examination of the
child was conducted.
Bozeman was indicted for one count of fondling and two counts
of sexual battery in violation of Mississippi Code Annotated
sections 97-5-23 and 97-3-95 (Rev. 2006). During the jury
trial, M.W. testified that Bozeman had touched her with his
hands and his "private parts." Based on the details
provided to her by the child, the forensic interviewer
testified that her "findings were consistent with that
of a child that had been sexually abused."
Bozeman was convicted of count one, fondling, and sentenced
to twelve years in the custody of the Mississippi Department
of Corrections, with eight years to serve and four years
suspended, with the sentence to run consecutively to any
sentences previously imposed. He was found not guilty of the
other two counts of sexual battery, and those charges were
dismissed. Bozeman filed a motion for a judgment
notwithstanding the verdict, or in the alternative, for a new
trial, which the circuit court denied. Finding no error, we
affirm Bozeman's conviction and sentence.
Bozeman's sole argument on appeal is that, due to the
State's failure to provide any physical evidence that he
touched the child inappropriately, the verdict is against the
overwhelming weight of the evidence. He notes there was no
medical examination of M.W. conducted to determine if the
child had been molested. Therefore, Bozeman contends he is
entitled to a new trial.
"[M]atters regarding the weight of the evidence are
within the province of the jury." Jackson v.
State, 154 So.3d 58, 62 (¶18) (Miss. Ct. App. 2014)
(citing Stegall v. State,765 So.2d 606, 610
(¶10) (Miss. Ct. App. 2000)). "A jury's verdict
will not be disturbed unless 'it is so contrary to the
overwhelming weight of the evidence that to allow it to stand
would sanction an unconscionable injustice.'"
Hernandez v. State, 137 So.3d 889, 893 (¶18)
(Miss. Ct. App. 2013) (quoting Bush v. State, 895
So.2d 836, 844 (¶18) ...