ANDREW C. CRUSE, JR. A/K/A ANDREW CLINTON CRUSE, JR. A/K/A ANDREW CLINTON CRUSE A/K/A ANDREW C. CRUSE A/K/A ANDREW CRUSE A/K/A SPARKY A/K/A CLINT APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 01/26/2017
HARRISON COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON.
CHRISTOPHER LOUIS SCHMIDT TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY:
BENJAMIN ALLEN SUBER GEORGE T. HOLMES ERIN E. BRIGGS
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
KATY TAYLOR GERBER
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: JOEL SMITH
LEE, C.J., BARNES AND WESTBROOKS, JJ.
Andrew Clinton Cruse Jr. was indicted as a violent habitual
offender by the Harrison County Grand Jury for kidnapping,
aggravated assault, forcible sexual intercourse, and sexual
battery. After a jury trial, Cruse was found guilty of
kidnapping, aggravated assault, and forcible sexual
intercourse but was acquitted of sexual battery. Cruse was
sentenced to life without parole in the custody of the
Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) for each of the
convictions, with the sentences to run concurrently. Cruse
filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict
(JNOV), or in the alternative, for a new trial, which the
trial court denied. Cruse timely appeals. After review of the
record, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
On February 23, 2015, Tina Ivy was spotted naked running from
a nearby wooded area to a Lowe's parking lot in Gulfport,
Mississippi. Ivy was naked, her head was covered in blood,
and her arms were bound behind her back with duct tape and
zip ties. Witnesses at trial testified that Ivy stated that
she had been held against her will in a tent and raped. Ivy
also stated that Cruse tried to drug her, but she refused to
swallow the pills. Ivy named her assailant as
"Clint." However, the assailant was later
identified as Andrew Clinton Cruse Jr., whose nickname is
Sergeant Christopher Werner, a detective with the Gulfport
Police Department, testified that he arrived at the campsite
in the wooded area that Ivy had described and noticed two
open tents. Sergeant Werner stated that he found paperwork
with both Cruse's and Ivy's names inside one of the
tents. Cruse was later arrested approximately one-half of a
mile away from the campsite on an unrelated bench warrant.
Ivy picked out Cruse's photo and identified him as her
attacker, and Cruse was arrested for kidnapping, aggravated
assault, forcible sexual intercourse, and sexual battery.
At trial, Cruse testified that he and Ivy had consensual sex,
and bruises she sustained were the result of an altercation
Ivy had with her boyfriend. However, Cruse admitted to
slapping Ivy with an open hand and tying her up with duct
tape during their sexual encounter. However, Cruse stated
that Ivy asked to be bound while they engaged in sexual
intercourse, and that his girlfriend was also with them
during their sexual encounter.
The jury did not find Cruse's testimony persuasive as to
three of the four indicted offenses, and Cruse was convicted
of kidnapping, aggravated assault, and forcible sexual
intercourse. After the denial of Cruse's JNOV motion, or
in the alternative, a new trial, Cruse timely appeals.
"A denial of a judgment notwithstanding the verdict is
subject to de novo review on appeal." Kirk v.
State, 160 So.3d 685, 695 (¶24) (Miss. 2015).
"[The reviewing] Court will affirm the denial of a
motion for [a] JNOV if there is substantial evidence to
support the verdict." Id. at (¶25).
Denial of Davis's Motion to Withdraw
Cruse asserts that the trial court erred in refusing to allow
his attorney, James "Jim" Davis, ...