LARRY LEWIS A/K/A LARRY D. LEWIS APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 09/15/2016
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, SECOND JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON. SMITH
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: PATRICK E. STEGALL
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
BILLY L. GORE
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: JOHN W. CHAMPION
LEE, C.J., WILSON AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.
Following a jury trial in the Panola County Circuit Court on
August 15-16, 2016, Larry Lewis was convicted of statutory
rape of a child under fourteen and statutory rape of a child
over fourteen but under sixteen. Lewis was sentenced as a
habitual offender, under Mississippi Code Annotated section
99-19-83 (Rev. 2015), to life imprisonment without parole in
the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections.
Aggrieved, Lewis filed a motion for a judgment
notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) or, in the alternative, a
new trial, which the circuit court denied. Lewis timely
appeals. After review of the record, we affirm.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Charlene and her five children, including J.T.,
moved in with Lewis in late 2012 or early 2013. At the time,
J.T. was around twelve or thirteen years old. J.T. testified
that she began having a sexual relationship with Lewis around
this time. At the time, Lewis was approximately fifty years
old or older.
Robert Harris, J.T.'s great uncle, contacted the
Department of Human Services (DHS) to report an inappropriate
relationship between J.T. and Lewis. DHS interviewed J.T. and
her family regarding the allegations of the sexual
relationship. Each of the family members, including J.T.,
denied the existence of a sexual relationship.
Shortly after, Charlene and her children moved from
Lewis's home. Charlene testified that although she and
her children moved out, J.T. continued to visit Lewis alone.
However, the family returned to live with Lewis sometime
later in 2014.
J.T. stated that she and Lewis stayed in his house together
in one bedroom, while her mother and siblings slept in a
camper located in the back of Lewis's property. Charlene
denied that J.T. lived with Lewis alone; however, she
testified that she liked to party and was frequently out late
at night. As a result, the children were left unattended in
the camper while Lewis was in the house.
In 2015, Zeandra Butler, Lewis's biological daughter,
notified DHS that her father and J.T. were involved in an
inappropriate relationship. A representative from DHS
interviewed J.T. at her school. During this interview, J.T.
reported that she and Lewis were involved in a sexual
relationship and had been involved since she was ...