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Young v. State

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

November 27, 2018


          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 09/02/2016





          GREENLEE, J.

         ¶1. Following a jury trial in the Jones County Circuit Court, Faron Young was convicted of statutory rape and kidnapping. The circuit court sentenced Young, as a habitual offender, to serve two concurrent terms of thirty years in the custody of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC).

         ¶2. On appeal, Young argues his convictions should be reversed because: (1) his indictment for statutory rape was insufficient; (2) Jury Instruction S-2A constructively amended his indictment for kidnapping; and (3) the evidence was insufficient to support his kidnapping conviction. For the reasons discussed below, we affirm Young's convictions and sentences for statutory rape and kidnapping.


         ¶3. On May 26, 2015, fourteen-year-old "Jane" was living in Laurel, Mississippi with her mother, "Susan," stepfather, and two brothers.[1] At about 5 p.m. that evening, Jane and one of her brothers started arguing, and their mother told them to go to their rooms. Jane slammed a door on her way to her room, and her mother, Susan, followed her, reaching to grab Jane's shoulder. Once Jane got to her room, she slammed her bedroom door and locked it. Through the bedroom door, Susan heard Jane telling someone on the phone that "her mother beat her." Susan told Jane to stay in her room and cool off. Shortly after, Susan saw Jane walk out the back door toward the pond behind their home, where Jane often went to be alone.

         ¶4. Unbeknownst to her mother, Jane had phoned Young from her bedroom to ask that he pick her up. Jane had known Young since she was a young child; Susan and Young used to date, and Young was the father of Jane's youngest brother. When Jane left her house, she walked to the Magnolia Motel on Highway 11, where Young picked her up.

         ¶5. Jane testified that after Young picked her up, they drove to a gas station in Laurel and then drove to see a piece of land where Young wanted to put a camper. Jane said that once they got there, she and Young had consensual sex in the back of his truck. Jane testified that she was menstruating at that time. She removed her tampon and underwear. Then Young got on top of her and inserted his penis in her vagina. Jane said Young withdrew his penis to ejaculate into a towel.

         ¶6. Meanwhile, Susan became concerned when she did not find Jane at the pond behind their house. Susan texted and called Jane but received no answer or response. Susan then called Young because he was "like a father to Jane," and when Jane would sometimes refuse to talk to Susan, she would talk to Young. But Young told her that he had not heard from Jane, had not talked to her, and did not know where she was. Concerned, Susan called the police. As it started getting dark outside, Susan called Young a second time and told him she was worried about Jane and had called the police. Young did not tell Susan that Jane was with him.

         ¶7. Jane testified that after she and Young had sex, they drove to Young's home, where he and his girlfriend, Casey Holifield, lived with their daughter. Jane watched a movie while Young showered. Then, Young went to Jane's house while she stayed at his home. Young later returned and drove Jane to a cemetery near Walmart, where he dropped her off. It was approximately 2 a.m. in the morning. Jane testified that she walked to Walmart, called her mother, and was picked up by police.

         ¶8. Deputy Carter testified that he went to the Walmart on a dispatch call, where he found Jane, and transported her to South Central Hospital's emergency room to have a sexual-assault examination performed.

         ¶9. Emergency-room physician Dr. Thomas Bailey testified that he performed a sexual- assault examination on Jane and took swabs from her vulval and vaginal regions. Dr. Bailey testified that his physical examination of Jane neither confirmed nor negated sexual abuse. He added that he would not expect to find physical evidence if Jane had engaged in consensual sex. Dr. Bailey acknowledged that, during the interview, Jane denied having had sexual intercourse.[2]

         ¶10. Brandy Goodman of the Mississippi Forensics Laboratory testified as an expert forensic scientist. Goodman testified that she tested Jane's vulval and vaginal swabs for the presence of semen by performing a screen for seminal fluid and a microscopic examination for sperm cells. Goodman testified that serological screening of Jane's vulval and vaginal swabs tested negative for the presence of sperm cells, but her microscopic examination for the presence of sperm cells tested positive. On cross-examination, Goodman testified that it was highly unlikely that sperm could be transferred to a vagina if a woman handled a towel with ejaculate on it and then touched her vaginal area or inserted a tampon, but she could not rule it out.

         ¶11. Mississippi Forensics Laboratory DNA analyst Joseph Heflin testified that he performed a DNA analysis on Jane's vulval and vaginal swabs and the known DNA reference samples from both Jane and Young. Helfin testified that the male DNA found on Jane's vaginal swabs was consistent with Young's DNA. The odds the male DNA belonged to someone other than Young were one in over ten billion.

         ¶12. Deputy Robert Little of the Jones County Sheriff's Department testified to his involvement in the investigation. Deputy Little said that he briefly questioned Jane at Walmart and learned that she had been with Young since roughly 5 p.m. that day. Deputy Little said he then headed toward Young's house and happened to see Young in his vehicle along the way. Deputy Little initiated a traffic stop and read Young his Miranda[3] rights. Young initially denied knowing anything about Jane and denied having seen her. But after additional questioning, Young admitted to picking Jane up earlier that day and later dropping her off by Walmart. Young told Little that he had been scared of getting in trouble and had deleted all of the text messages between him and Jane.

         ¶13. Deputy Little further testified that he drove to the piece of land where the sexual encounter occurred and found a used tampon, which he logged as evidence. Little said that he also searched Young's truck and found some hair samples and a towel in the backseat, which were logged as evidence but not tested for DNA.

         ¶14. Investigator Thad Windham with the Jones County Sheriff's Office testified that he assisted in obtaining a consent-to-search form from Young and took a recorded statement from Young on May 27, 2015, the day after his arrest. An edited version of Young's statement was played for the jury and admitted into evidence. In his statement, Young said that he picked Jane up from the Magnolia Motel at her request and drove to a piece of land he was considering putting a trailer on. Young denied having sexual intercourse with Jane. When Investigator Windham asked about the used tampon found on the land where Jane and Young had been, Young said "she had to pee."

         ¶15. Following deliberations, the jury found Young guilty of kidnapping and statutory rape. Young filed a motion for a judgment notwithstanding the verdict or a new trial, which the circuit court denied. Young has timely appealed, challenging his indictment for statutory rape and ...

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