OF JUDGMENT: 05/26/2017
GRENADA COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. JOSEPH H. LOPER JR., TRIAL
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: LUTHER PUTNAM CRULL JR.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, KAYLYN
HAVRILLA MCCLINTON DISTRICT
ATTORNEY: DOUG EVANS
BARNES, C.J., TINDELL AND McCARTY, JJ.
Donald Hayden Phillips appeals his convictions for assault,
kidnapping, and sexual battery. The issues presented are: (1)
whether surrogate reviewer testimony violated Phillips'
rights under the Confrontation Clause; (2) whether
Phillips' exhibits should have been admitted into
evidence; (3) whether the trial court abused its discretion
by sentencing Phillips to serve a total of thirty-five years
in the State penitentiary, which resulted in a violation of
his constitutional rights; (4) whether the trial court erred
in denying Phillips' post-trial motions; and (5) whether
the prejudicial effect of cumulative errors warranted a new
trial. Finding no reversible error, we affirm.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Before dawn one spring day, Jane Doe was awoken by the sound of
someone at her front door. When she went outside, she
initially did not see anyone, but as she turned to go back
in, she saw Donald Hayden Phillips backed up against her
trailer. Once Jane spotted him, Phillips gave her a
"crazy look" and forced his way inside.
Jane told Phillips to leave and attempted to stop him from
advancing further into her home. Phillips responded by
stabbing Jane in the neck with a pocketknife. Jane fled to
the front door in an attempt to escape, but Phillips stabbed
her in the back before she could reach the door. Jane then
After she regained consciousness, Jane made another escape
attempt-this time through the back door. Phillips again
caught her before she could escape. He threw Jane on the
couch, and she lost consciousness for a second time. When
Jane awoke, Phillips had either already removed her pants or
was in the process of doing so. Phillips then ripped off her
underwear and repeatedly attempted to rape her over the next
several hours. During this time Phillips used his fingers to
digitally penetrate Jane's vagina and anus
"aggressively [and] multiple times." He also
threatened to kill Jane if she tried to escape again.
Several hours into the attack, Jane's sister and her
sister's boyfriend arrived at the trailer. Upon their
arrival, Phillips forced Jane into the bathroom. While
brandishing a knife, Phillips pressed himself against the
bathroom door, and threatened to kill Jane if she did not get
rid of them. During this time, Jane's neighbor and
Jane's ex-boyfriend also arrived at the trailer. When
Jane's ex-boyfriend told her he was leaving she shouted
out, "[P]lease, don't go!" Jane's
ex-boyfriend then broke down the bathroom door-simultaneously
freeing Jane and trapping Phillips inside. Jane escaped to
her back deck and from there was transported to the hospital.
The emergency-room nurse testified that Jane had lost a lot
of blood from multiple potentially life-threatening wounds.
Jane was stabbed a total of seventeen times in her neck,
hand, back, forearm, and both breasts. A rape kit was
performed, multiple pieces of hair were collected, and swabs
were taken from all over Jane's body.
Kathryn Rodgers was the analyst who tested the samples
collected at the hospital. The swabs taken of Jane's
vagina and anus tested positive for seminal fluid and
spermatoza. DNA testing of the seminal fluid and spermatoza
could not exclude Phillips as a potential contributor, and
there was a 99.9% chance that the rest of the population
could be excluded as a potential contributor.
At the time of trial, Rodgers was either on or nearing
maternity leave. Because Rodgers was unavailable to testify
at trial, the State filed a motion to substitute technical
reviewer testimony. The State intended to call the technical
reviewer on the case, George Schiro, to testify in
Rodgers' place. In addition to being the technical
reviewer on the case, Schiro was also a DNA analyst and
director of the ...