KUREN CORDELL KEYS A/K/A KUREN KEYS A/K/A KUREN K. KEYS A/K/A KUREN KORDELL KEYS A/K/A KURRELL CORDELL KEYS APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 08/12/2015
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT, HON.
CHRISTOPHER LOUIS SCHMIDT, TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER,
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, LAURA
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: JOEL SMITH
LEE, C.J., FAIR AND WILSON, JJ.
A jury in the Harrison County Circuit Court convicted Kuren
Kordell Keys of two counts of sexual battery. On appeal,
Keys's appointed counsel from the Office of State Public
Defender, Indigent Appeals Division, filed a Lindsey
brief, certifying that she has reviewed the record and has
concluded that Keys's case does not present any arguable
issues for appeal. Keys subsequently filed a pro se brief in
which he challenges the weight and sufficiency of the
evidence and alleges various errors at trial. We have
reviewed the issues raised by Keys and the record as a whole
and find no reversible error. Therefore, we affirm Keys's
convictions and sentences.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On November 28, 2013, AKT went to Club Illusions in Gulfport,
where she was training to be a waitress. She arrived at the
club between 11 p.m. and midnight. AKT planned to get a ride
home with a friend and her friend's boyfriend, but the
boyfriend later told AKT that he could not give her a ride
because he had been drinking. Another friend of AKT,
Deanthony Haralson, then agreed to give her a ride home.
Haralson lived near AKT. Haralson, AKT, and two men she did
not know-later identified as Keys and Donnell Bolden-left the
club in a four-door, silver Chevrolet sedan.
Keys gave Haralson the keys and told him to drive. Bolden sat
in the front passenger seat, and Keys and AKT sat in the
backseat. Haralson dropped Bolden off first, then drove to
his apartment and got out of the car. Keys took over driving,
and AKT moved into the front passenger seat. Keys told AKT he
would take her home, but she soon realized he was driving in
the wrong direction. She asked Keys where he was going, and
he told her that he needed to "hit a lick." Keys
eventually stopped the car on the side of County Farm Road in
a rural area of Harrison County. Keys told AKT that he needed
to wait there for a friend to bring him money.
This angered AKT because it was around 5 a.m., and she needed
to get home. She expressed her anger to Keys, then turned
toward her side window. In her peripheral vision, AKT noticed
movement and turned to see Keys stroking his penis. AKT tried
to get out of the car and said she would find her own way
home; however, Keys grabbed her, pulled her back inside the
car, and told her, "[T]his ride ain't free."
Keys threatened to shoot AKT and ordered her to remove her
underwear. AKT told Keys that she had recently given birth
and had stitches. Keys told her to perform oral sex on him
AKT began screaming and crying, but Keys again threatened to
shoot her and displayed a box-cutter blade. Keys held the
blade near AKT's face as she began to perform oral sex on
him. AKT was still screaming and crying, so Keys pulled her
out of the car by her hair and pushed her up against the back
of the car on the driver's side. Keys forced his penis
inside AKT's vagina for approximately thirty seconds
before a vehicle appeared on the road traveling in their
direction. Keys shoved AKT to the ground so the passing car
could not see her and held her there until the car passed.
AKT realized it was a law enforcement vehicle and tried to
signal the driver, but he did not see her.
Once the car passed, Keys picked up AKT, pushed her back over
the car, and tried to penetrate her again. As he did, a truck
appeared traveling in the opposite direction. AKT managed to
break free of Keys and ran into the road in front of the
oncoming vehicle. The driver, Anita Corwin, stopped, and AKT
ran to the passenger side door, screaming that she had been
raped and pulling on the door handle. Corwin unlocked the
door, and AKT got inside Corwin's truck.
Corwin saw the silver Chevrolet drive away, but she was not
able to identify its driver. Corwin had just passed a fire
station and had seen a deputy parked there, so she and AKT
drove back to the fire station. As they drove, Corwin called
911 to report the assault.
¶8. Captain John Massengill of the Harrison County
Sheriff's Office was at the fire station when Corwin and
AKT arrived. Massengill had been driving the first vehicle
that passed Keys's parked car. Massengill testified that
he slowed as he passed and made eye contact with Keys.
However, Massengill saw only Keys, and Keys did not indicate
that he needed assistance, so Massengill continued to the
fire station to use the restroom. Massengill testified that
he intended to return to check on Keys after he left the fire
While at the fire station, Massengill heard a call over his
radio that a possible assault had occurred on County Farm
Road and that the victim was en route to the fire station.
Massengill met Corwin and AKT at the front of the station.
AKT was sobbing and shaking, and Massengill was afraid that
she would go into shock. When Massengill led her inside the
station, AKT ran toward a sink and began gagging and dry
heaving. AKT eventually collapsed and was transported to the
hospital via ambulance.
Before AKT collapsed, she told Massengill that the crime
scene was the parked car he had passed on County Farm Road,
so he broadcast a description of the vehicle: a newer model
four-door sedan, gray or silver in color. Massengill was
unable to give a full description of Keys because it had been
dark and he had only seen Keys from the waist up. Massengill
and another deputy, Walter Dukes, returned to the area where
Massengill had seen Keys's car. It was a cold morning,
and there was frost on the ground, so the vehicle's tire
tracks were easy to find. The officers also found AKT's
underwear near the tracks.
Dukes met with AKT at the hospital. AKT told Dukes that she
did not know the man who raped her, but she knew that he was
a friend of Haralson. Investigators made contact with
Haralson, and Haralson identified Keys as the only man in the
car with AKT after they dropped him off at his apartment.
Nurse Jennifer Duncan was in the emergency room when AKT
arrived by ambulance around 7:10 a.m. Duncan testified that
AKT was upset and disheveled. AKT told Duncan that she had
been sexually assaulted, so Duncan conducted a sexual assault
exam to collect any evidence. AKT stated that the assault was
oral and vaginal, so Duncan took swabs from AKT's mouth,
vulva, and vagina. Duncan also collected AKT's clothes
and drew a blood sample. AKT told Duncan that she had given
birth about four weeks earlier. Duncan testified that AKT was
crying throughout the examination. ...