OF JUDGMENT: 11/17/2015
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT TRIAL JUDGE: HON. EDDIE H. BOWEN
COURT ATTORNEYS: CHRIS HENNIS STEPHANIE WOOD RANCE N. ULMER
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF THE STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER
BY: BENJAMIN ALLEN SUBER GEORGE T. HOLMES
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
LAURA HOGAN TEDDER
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: DANIEL CHRISTOPHER JONES
RANDOLPH, P.J., KING AND BEAM, JJ.
RANDOLPH, PRESIDING JUSTICE.
Sam Hales was convicted and sentenced to serve a term of
twenty-five years in the custody of the Mississippi
Department of Corrections (MDOC) for one count of sexual
battery and fifteen years for one count of touching a child
for lustful purposes, for a total of forty years, to be
served day for day. Hales argues that the trial court erred
in denying his motion for judgment notwithstanding the
verdict (JNOV) because the jury's verdict was against the
overwhelming weight of the evidence. Finding no error, we
affirm Hales's convictions and sentences.
J.P., who was fourteen years old and in the
eighth grade at the time of trial, lived with his mother,
father, and four sisters. J.P. testified that Hales lived
near him and that he was related to Hales, but J.P. was
unsure of the nature of their relationship. J.P. testified
that Hales "did something bad to me when I was
little." J.P. believed the first occurrence of abuse was
in February when he was in third grade. He recalled the
incident happened around his sister's birthday. J.P.
testified that he had gone to Hales's house to get a
phone number for his mother. Hales told J.P. to wait in the
living room. While J.P. was waiting, Hales came out of the
kitchen with his pants unzipped, playing with his penis. J.P.
testified that Hales "took me and slung me in the chair
and grabbed, put his hand behind my head and told me to suck
his penis." Hales pushed J.P.'s head down to his
penis, and Hales's penis went inside J.P.'s mouth.
Hales kept his hand on J.P.'s neck and let J.P. go only
when J.P.'s mother called on the house phone.
J.P. testified that the last time he was abused by Hales was
2013 when he was in fifth grade. J.P. believe the incident
occurred around Halloween or Thanksgiving. J.P. testified
that he was in Hales's bedroom and that Hales's
mother, Delores, and brother, James House, also were at home
at the time. Hales gave J.P. a "nasty book" with
pictures of naked men and women to read. While J.P. was
reading, Hales was "playing with himself, and he was
trying to rub on me." J.P. testified that Hales was
touching J.P.'s penis outside his clothes. After J.P.
finished reading the book, Hales told J.P. to lean over and
suck Hales's penis. J.P. stopped when Hales finally let
go of his head.
J.P. testified that Hales was circumcised and had a mole on
the tip of his penis. J.P. testified that he believed he was
abused by Hales fifteen times. J.P. did not tell anyone about
the abuse because he was worried about his mother, who
recently had suffered a mini stroke, and he was afraid Hales
would convince everyone that J.P. was lying. J.P. eventually
told three of his cousins. J.P.'s oldest cousin told
J.P.'s father what had happened, and J.P.'s father
told J.P.'s mother. The first time J.P. talked to his
mother, he told her that nothing had happened because Hales
had told J.P. not to tell anyone. When his mother asked him
again, he told her the truth, and his mother called the
police. J.P. testified that he finally told the truth because
he was tired of Hales abusing him. J.P. identified Hales as
the person who had sexually assaulted and fondled him.
J.P. acknowledged that he knew Hales had suffered a stroke in
2012 and had used a cane ever since. J.P. testified that he
had been admitted to Pine Grove Behavioral Health and
Addiction Services for approximately ...