GEORGE LEE PARKS A/K/A GEORGE LEE PARKS, III A/K/A GEORGE L. PARKS, III A/K/A GEORGE PARKS, III APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 10/01/2015
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON.
CHRISTOPHER LOUIS SCHMIDT TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY:
GEORGE T. HOLMES
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
BARBARA WAKELAND BYRD
DISTRICT ATTORNEY JOEL SMITH
GRIFFIS, P.J., BARNES AND CARLTON, JJ.
Pursuant to a multicount indictment, a Harrison County jury
found George Parks guilty of two counts of sexual battery,
one count of aggravated assault, one count of kidnapping, and
one count of possession of a controlled
substance. Parks now appeals his convictions and
sentences. On appeal, he asserts the following
issues: (1) whether the circuit court erred by
denying his motion to dismiss the indictment; (2) whether he
was improperly arraigned; (3) whether his right to a speedy
trial was violated; (4) whether the circuit court erred by
denying his motion for new appointed counsel; (5) whether the
circuit court erred by denying his motion to suppress
evidence; (6) whether the circuit court erred by allowing the
State to use evidence of his prior bad acts; (7) whether he
was denied the right to a public trial; (8) whether his
attorney provided ineffective assistance of counsel; (9)
whether prosecutorial misconduct denied him a fair trial;
(10) whether the circuit court erred by granting the
State's proposed jury instruction S-6; and (11) whether
the circuit court erred by denying his request for bail
Finding no error, we affirm.
On the evening of August 27, 2014, Officer Michael Warren of
the Biloxi Police Department responded to a dispatch about a
stabbing victim at Biloxi Regional Medical Center (now called
Merit Health Hospital). Officer Warren proceeded to the
hospital, where he interviewed the reported victim, Desiree
Stringer, and photographed her injuries. Based on the
information Stringer provided, officers were dispatched to
Along with others, Officer Bryan Wallace of the Biloxi Police
Department responded to the dispatch to Parks's
residence. Officer Wallace testified that Parks exited the
residence and met the officers in the front yard. Officer
Wallace stated that Parks had a large amount of dried and
fresh blood on his left hand, and his right hand was swollen.
Officer Wallace testified that he asked whether Parks had
anything in his pockets that could cause harm. After Parks
answered that he did not, Officer Wallace asked for
permission to search Parks's pockets. Officer Wallace
testified that Parks consented to the search. In Parks's
shirt pocket, Officer Wallace discovered a plastic cellophane
bag containing two off-white rocks. The jury later heard
expert trial testimony that the two rocks were cocaine.
Officer Wallace testified that he and another officer
conducted a safety search of Parks's residence to ensure
that no other victims, suspects, or persons needing medical
attention were inside the home. Officer Wallace stated that
the safety search lasted about two minutes. During the safety
search of Parks's home, Officer Wallace observed
marijuana cigarettes in plain view as well as a large amount
of dried blood on the floor, the walls, and a bedroom
mattress. After completing the safety search, Officer Wallace
escorted Parks to the hospital to receive medical treatment
for any possible injuries. Officer Wallace testified that,
during the car ride, Parks said a woman named
"Paige" did his laundry and that she must have put
the cocaine in his shirt pocket. The jury later heard trial
testimony that one of the State's other witnesses, a
woman named Tonda Adkisson, also went by the name of
"Summer Paige Williams."
After obtaining a warrant, law enforcement performed a search
of Parks's residence and collected evidence. Nathan
Holly, an employee of the Mississippi Forensics Laboratory,
testified as an expert in forensic DNA analysis. Holly
testified that he performed a DNA analysis on blood swabbed
from a knife found in Parks's residence and on blood
swabbed from the back of Parks's left hand. According to
Holly, each swab contained a DNA mixture of both Parks's
and Stringer's blood.
The jury also heard testimony from Stringer. Stringer stated
that she had known Parks for approximately four years and
that the two had once worked for the same cab company.
Stringer testified that she had even rented a room in
Parks's house for several months about three years
previously while she saved money to buy her own house.
Stringer further testified that, on only one occasion about
three-and-a-half to four years previously, she and Parks had
At the time of the alleged incident in August 2014, Stringer
lived in Bogalusa, Louisiana, with her mother. Stringer
testified that she traveled to Biloxi, Mississippi, on August
25, 2014, to stay several nights at Parks's home and to
hang out. Stringer stated that she intended to stay in
Parks's guest bedroom. On the evening of August 26, 2014,
Stringer testified that she and Parks went to pick up
Adkisson, whom they both knew. Stringer testified that, upon
arriving at Adkisson's home, she went inside to get
Adkisson. Stringer stated that Parks appeared irritated when
the two women returned to the car. According to Stringer,
Parks was irritated because they were not going to be able to
stop by the liquor store before closing time.
Stringer further testified that, as she drove down the
highway, Parks accused Adkisson of hitting him and calling
him a derogatory name. However, Stringer stated that Adkisson
did neither of these things. Stringer testified that Parks,
who was sitting in the front passenger seat, turned around
and began slapping and punching Adkisson, who was seated
directly behind him. Stringer said that she pulled over and
broke up the altercation. Stringer further stated that Parks
then exited the car and began walking down the road. Stringer
and Adkisson then drove back to Adkisson's house.
Stringer testified that she decided to collect her stuff from
Parks's house and to then return to Adkisson's house
to spend the night. However, Stringer stated that Parks was
already at his house when she arrived. According to Stringer,
Parks was angry and began asking Stringer questions about
whether Adkisson was cheating on him, whether Adkisson loved
him, and whether Adkisson loved Stringer more than him.
Stringer testified that Parks did not like her responses and
began making superficial cuts on her legs with a knife.
Stringer further testified that Parks called her names and
ordered her to stay at his house and answer his questions. In
addition, Stringer said Parks threatened to cut off her hand
if she moved.
Despite Parks's threats, Stringer said that she tried to
run into the laundry room that adjoined Parks's bedroom.
However, Stringer testified that Parks grabbed her by her
hair, flung her to the ground, kicked her in the head three
times, and cut her with the knife. Stringer further stated
that Parks dragged her back into his bedroom and made her sit
on the bed. She said that he then placed a television in
front of the door to prevent her from leaving the bedroom.
Stringer testified that she also tried to hide underneath
Parks's bed at one point. However, she said that Parks
began to jump up and down on the bed and that he stabbed her
with a broken golf club, which cut her face.
Stringer further testified that Parks said the cutting and
the beating were really intended for Adkisson. At one point,
Stringer said Parks thought he heard the police. Stringer
stated that Parks made her sit on his lap while he held the
knife to her throat. Stringer testified that Parks said he
would slit her throat and kill her and then kill himself.
Although she had her clothes on when the altercation started,
Stringer testified that Parks took her clothes off. Stringer
testified that Parks said he was going to have sex with her
since he could not have sex with Adkisson. Stringer testified
that Parks grabbed her legs, and when she would not open her
legs, he cut her on the back of her legs and on her bottom to
force her to open her legs. Stringer stated that Parks then
put his penis in her vagina. He then grabbed her by her hair
and stuck his penis in her mouth. She testified that he said
he would stab her in the top of her head if she bit him.
Overall, Stringer estimated that Parks held her against her
will and assaulted her for seventeen to nineteen hours. She
testified that Parks cut her all over her body, including her
head, neck, arm, back, knees, ankles, legs, and hands. Toward
the end of the ordeal, Stringer testified that Parks forced
her to smoke methamphetamine. Stringer said Parks told her
that she needed to smoke the methamphetamine to calm down.
Stringer further testified that she began to notice she was
no longer bleeding, and she thought she had become
dehydrated. Stringer stated that she eventually convinced
Parks that she could get Adkisson to see him. Stringer
testified that Parks then cleaned up, changed clothes, and
brought her some clothes to wear.
As they were driving to Adkisson's house, Stringer
testified that Parks told her to just take him back to his
house. Stringer testified that she refused to go back inside
Parks's house and that he got out of the car and told her
to do what she had to do. Stringer stated that she then drove
immediately to the hospital.
Jennifer Guice, an emergency-room nurse, testified that she
was working on August 27, 2014, when Stringer arrived at the
hospital. Guice testified that Stringer was very weak and
required urgent medical attention. Stringer told Guice that
she had been beaten, stabbed, kicked, punched, and held
hostage. According to Guice, Stringer had bruises, scrapes,
lacerations, and dried blood all over her body. Guice further
testified that Stringer's injuries were consistent with
those inflicted by a knife and a broken golf club.
Dr. William Kennerly, the general surgeon who treated
Stringer's wounds, testified that he closed thirty-three
of the larger wounds on Stringer's body. Dr. Kennerly
testified that the surgery lasted about an hour and a half,
and then Stringer stayed in the hospital several days to
recover. Dr. Kennerly stated that Stringer's injuries
appeared consistent with knife wounds. He further stated
that, in his expert opinion, not all of Stringer's wounds
could have been self-inflicted.
During its case-in-chief, the State presented testimony from
two women-Kristin Cannata and Adkisson-who both stated that
Parks had engaged in behavior toward them that was similar to
the behavior alleged by Stringer. After both Cannata and
Adkisson testified, the circuit court instructed the jury
that the State offered the testimony only to establish
Parks's motive, intent, and modus operandi. The circuit
court further instructed the jury that it should not consider
the testimony to be substantive evidence in the allegations
made by Stringer. The circuit court also reminded the jury
that Parks was only on trial for the crimes alleged in the
indictment and not for other acts.
Cannata testified about two past incidents involving Parks.
Cannata stated that she had gone to high school with Parks
and had known him for twenty-seven years. Cannata testified
that, on September 24, 2010, Parks held her overnight against
her will at his home in Biloxi. Cannata stated that, at the
time, she and Parks were friends. Cannata testified that
Parks became angry about some of her past relationships.
According to Cannata, Parks took away her phone, hit her in
the head and face, dragged her around by her hair, held a
knife to her throat, and threatened to hit her with a hammer.
Cannata also testified that she had sex with Parks during the
incident because she felt that she had no other choice. On
cross-examination, Cannata stated that the charges for this
incident were dismissed.
Cannata testified that the second incident occurred at her
home in Las Vegas, Nevada, on December 18, 2011, and that
Parks again held her overnight against her will. Although she
testified that she was struggling with the previous incident,
Cannata admitted that Parks was an invited guest in her home.
Cannata said that Parks became angry after her ex-husband
came over to retrieve an item she had borrowed. According to
Cannata, Parks hit her, pinned her on the bed, scraped
scissors on her breasts and stomach, cut her stomach, punched
her repeatedly in the ribs, and choked her. Cannata testified
that Parks broke apart the scissors and used the blades like
knives. Cannata further testified that Parks masturbated on
top of her while he had her pinned on the bed. On
cross-examination, Cannata stated that, to the best of her
knowledge, Parks faced a felony prosecution for the incident.
She stated that she believed Parks took a plea deal and pled
guilty to the charge in exchange for attending an
The State next called Adkisson to testify about Parks's
past behavior toward her. Adkisson first corroborated
Stringer's testimony that Parks hit Adkisson on the night
of August 26, 2014. Adkisson claimed that she in no way
provoked the attack. In addition, Adkisson testified about a
previous incident where Parks assaulted her. Adkisson stated
that she had lived in Parks's guest bedroom for a period
of time. About two weeks after she moved out, Adkisson said
she was collecting the remainder of her stuff from
Parks's home when he took her phone, dragged her into his
bedroom, choked her, ripped off her pants, and repeatedly
smothered her with a pillow. Adkisson stated that Parks did
not sexually assault her during the incident. Adkisson
further testified that the incident lasted seventeen hours
and that she never told the police because Parks threatened
to harm her family, burn down her house, kill her animals,
kill her, and then kill himself.
Adkisson admitted during questioning that she had previously
been charged with and convicted of felony driving under the
influence. Adkisson further admitted that, when she was
younger, she had harmed herself by cutting her arms. In
addition, Adkisson admitted that she had tried to commit
suicide when she was younger. As previously stated, following
both Adkisson's and Cannata's testimony, the circuit
court instructed the jury on the purposes for which the
testimony had been offered.
After the State completed its case-in-chief, Parks testified
on his own behalf. During direct examination, Parks testified
that Adkisson had done his laundry and cleaned his house when
she lived with him. Parks further testified that the cocaine
Officer Wallace found in his shirt pocket was not his and
that he did not know how the cocaine came to be in his shirt
pocket. In response to questions asked during
cross-examination, however, Parks testified that he told law
enforcement that Adkisson must have put the cocaine in his
shirt pocket when she did his laundry.
As to the allegations made by Stringer, Parks stated that he
did accompany Stringer to pick up Adkisson on the evening of
August 26, 2014. Parks testified that Adkisson called him a
derogatory name, and he admitted that he turned around in the
front seat of Stringer's car and hit Adkisson twice in
the head and grabbed Adkisson's hair. According to Parks,
he broke his right hand-his dominant hand-when he hit
In addition to admitting that he hit Adkisson on the evening
of August 26, 2014, Parks admitted to the two past incidents
involving Cannata. Parks admitted that, on each of the two
occasions, he held Cannata overnight against her will. Parks
corroborated Cannata's testimony that the first incident
occurred at his home in Biloxi and that he threatened Cannata
with a knife. Parks further admitted that the second incident
occurred at Cannata's home in Las Vegas and involved him
cutting Cannata with a pair of scissors.
Despite admitting to his past acts against Cannata, Parks
denied that he assaulted Adkisson when she was moving out of
his house. In addition, Parks repeatedly denied
Stringer's allegations of sexual battery, aggravated
assault, and kidnapping. With regard to Stringer's
allegations, Parks testified that he never poked Stringer
with a broken golf club or cut her with a knife. Parks
further stated that he had never before seen the knife that