OF JUDGMENT: 03/19/2015
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. VERNON R. COTTEN TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: EDMUND J. PHILLIPS JR. JAMES EDWIN
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
LAURA HOGAN TEDDER JASON L. DAVIS
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: MARK SHELDON DUNCAN
LEE, C.J., GREENLEE AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.
Stanley Ross Strickland was convicted in the Circuit Court of
Neshoba County of two counts of statutory rape. Strickland
was convicted of having sex with his underage biological
daughter on at least two separate occasions. He was sentenced
on each count to thirty years in the custody of the
Mississippi Department of Corrections, with the sentences to
run consecutively for a total of sixty years. Strickland
timely filed a motion for a new trial, which the court
denied. He appeals and, finding no error, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
had been in and out of foster homes; however, in April 2012,
S.T. lived with her mother and siblings in a double-wide
mobile home. On April 7, 2012, S.T. had an unsupervised visit
with Strickland at his residence. That night, Strickland
watched pornographic movies with S.T. and inappropriately
touched her. Later that night, Strickland engaged in sexual
intercourse with S.T. After the sexual intercourse ended,
S.T. went in the living room and watched television with her
sister, M.T., Strickland's other biological daughter.
S.T. did not have her cellular phone during this visit and
did not notify her mother. Strickland took S.T. and M.T. home
the next day and picked them up again later that evening.
On the evening of April 8, 2012, S.T. took a shower at
Strickland's home while Strickland observed her through a
window. Following her shower, S.T. sat on the couch in the
living room while M.T. showered. Once M.T. finished,
Strickland took S.T. into his bedroom and forced her to smoke
marijuana and drink alcohol with him. They engaged in sexual
intercourse soon after. During both sexual encounters,
Strickland wore a condom. Strickland told S.T. to refrain
from discussing their sexual encounters with others, because
he would kill her if she did. She complied, until her mother,
Luna Stafford, discovered inappropriate text messages between
Strickland and S.T. Upon her discovery, Stafford resumed the
inappropriate conversation with Strickland, posing as S.T.
During these text-message conversations, Strickland alluded
to the sexual encounters he had with his underage daughter,
S.T., and how he wanted to engage in sexual intercourse with
her again. When Stafford, acting as S.T., indicated that she
did not want to continue their sexual relationship (because
of kinship), Strickland resorted to manipulation and bribery
to coax S.T. into having sexual intercourse with him again.
Strickland offered cell-phone minutes and money, and alluded
to entertaining suicidal thoughts as a form of manipulation.
Another form of manipulation included stating that he had
engaged in sexual intercourse with his younger daughter, M.T.
In an attempt to make S.T. jealous, Strickland sent a picture
message of two frogs copulating, purportedly sent by M.T. to
Strickland. Strickland indicated that after having sex with
S.T., he no longer wanted a sexual relationship with his
younger daughter, M.T.
Stafford took the text messages to her local sheriff's
department, and Strickland was arrested and indicted shortly
thereafter. After trial, Strickland was convicted of two
counts of statutory rape and sentenced on each count to
thirty years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of
Corrections, with the sentences to run consecutively for a
total of sixty years to serve. On appeal, Strickland contends
the State did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that
Strickland committed statutory rape against a minor. Finding
no merit to the issues, we affirm Strickland's conviction