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Willard v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

May 9, 2017

CHAD WILLARD A/K/A CHAD WAYNE WILLARD A/K/A CHAD W. WILLARD APPELLANT
v.
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 07/30/2015

         STONE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT 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: KAYLYN HAVRILLA MCCLINTON.

          DISTRICT ATTORNEY: JOEL SMITH.

         EN BANC

          IRVING, P.J.

         ¶1. A jury sitting before the Stone County Circuit Court found Chad Willard guilty of sexual battery. On appeal, Willard claims the circuit court erred when it excluded a portion of his only witness's testimony based on a discovery violation. We agree. Accordingly, we reverse the circuit court's judgment and remand the case for a new trial.

         FACTS

         ¶2. As of Monday, May 14, 2012, Sally[1] had been living in a mobile home in Stone County, Mississippi, for approximately ten days. She had four roommates: Dalton and Dylan Willard, [2] Chad Knight, and Brandon Warden.[3] They began playing a drinking game that evening, and they continued until they ran through a case of beer sometime around 8:00 p.m.

         ¶3. At approximately 1:00 a.m., Willard's girlfriend, Beth, [4] picked them up and drove everyone to Willard's house, where they had mixed drinks. Sally had four "big glasses." During the hour or two that they were at Willard's house, Beth got "upset" because she "thought [Sally] was acting too flirty with . . . Willard." Sometime between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m., Willard drove everyone but Beth back to the mobile home.[5] Sally, Dalton, and Brandon then drove to Harrison County to buy more beer. They got back at approximately 4:00 a.m.

         ¶4. According to Sally, Willard fell asleep in Dylan's bed sometime around 5:00 a.m. Dalton and Warden also fell asleep in different beds. By 7:00 a.m., everyone who was awake had stopped drinking. Sally and Dylan woke up Warden and told him to move to "a little mattress on the floor in the living room." Sally and Dylan[6] were both intoxicated when they went to bed.

         ¶5. Sally later testified that before they fell asleep, Willard came into the room and got into bed with them sometime around 8:00 a.m. Dylan was between Sally and Willard. When Willard told Dylan to tell Sally to take off her clothes, she "kind of just laughed it off" because she "just thought he was being a drunk pervert, " and went to sleep while wearing her dress.

         ¶6. When Sally woke up what she perceived as approximately an hour later, Dylan was gone, her underwear had been removed, Willard was on top of her, and they were having intercourse. She told Willard to stop, but she did not scream or yell. She did not know if Willard complied when she told him to stop because she "blacked out at that point." During direct examination, she said she did not physically try to stop him. But during cross-examination, she testified that she tried to push him away. Although she initially said that "four or five minutes" elapsed from the time that she woke up and later "black[ed] out, " she later said that "[i]t wasn't a long period of time." Ultimately she said she did not know how long she was awake, but "[i]t did feel like a long time."

         ¶7. When Sally finally woke up around 2:00 p.m., her underwear was on the floor, but she was still wearing her dress. She put on her underwear before leaving the bedroom. Dylan was still asleep, but Dalton and Warden were shocked when Sally told them what had happened. She took a shower, and she did not immediately contact authorities because she was scared and "[k]ind of in shock."

         ¶8. There are conflicting accounts regarding when Sally first reported Willard. According to Sally, she went to her mother's house later that day, which would have been May 15, 2012. She also said that "it was like maybe two hours before the police got there." However, Investigator Ray Boggs said that Sergeant Adam Guidry called him about Sally's report around 8:00 p.m. on May 16, 2012. In any event, Sergeant Guidry drove Sally to the sheriff's department on May 16, 2012, where she met with Investigator Boggs, who later described her as "distraught, " "upset, " and "very emotional." Sally gave him a written statement, and the unwashed dress and underwear that she wore Monday night and Tuesday morning.

         ¶9. The next morning, Investigator Boggs took Sally's clothes to the Mississippi Crime Laboratory. He then went to Willard's house. At Investigator Boggs's request, Willard met with him at the sheriff's department. In a short written statement, Willard admitted that he slept at the mobile home, but he said he did not have sex with Sally. That evening, Sally underwent a sexual-assault examination.

         ¶10. Investigator Boggs went to the mobile home to contact Dalton, Dylan, Warden, and Knight. No one answered the door on May 17, 2012. Investigator Boggs went back the next day, but no one answered the door then, either. Investigator Boggs later testified that he "eventually spoke with them, " but "[t]hey were very uncooperative." Eventually, three people gave short undated statements. Only Dylan's was mentioned with any specificity. Overall, Investigator Boggs opined that Dalton, Dylan, Knight, and Warden simply did not want to be involved in the case. Investigator Boggs did not contact Beth, because no one mentioned her during his investigation.

         ¶11. At trial, the prosecution called Sally, Investigator Boggs, the nurse practitioner who performed the sexual-assault examination, and two expert witnesses employed by the Mississippi Crime Laboratory. The nurse practitioner who performed the sexual-assault examination explained that Sally did not have any vaginal trauma, but there was recent bruising on her fingers, lower back, left inner thigh, and left leg. The expert witnesses testified that seminal fluid was on Sally's underwear, and DNA testing ...


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