SIDNEY BISHOP A/K/A SIDNEY E. BISHOP APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 03/13/2018
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT HON. JOSEPH H. LOPER JR. JUDGE.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY:
GEORGE T. HOLMES.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
MATTHEW WYATT WALTON.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: DOUG EVANS.
CARLTON, P.J., LAWRENCE AND C. WILSON, JJ.
An Attala County jury convicted Sidney Bishop of four counts
of gratification of lust, two counts of sexual battery, and
one count of statutory rape. The trial court sentenced Bishop
to serve twenty years with five years suspended for Count II
(sexual battery) and to fifteen years to be served
concurrently to Count II for each of the remaining six
charges. Counts I-V pertained to one minor female
("Alice"); Counts VI and VII pertained to another
minor female ("Brenda").
After filing an unsuccessful post-trial motion, Bishop timely
appeals. He raises the following issues: (1) whether the
evidence was sufficient for the statutory rape conviction in
Count III or whether the verdict was contrary to the
overwhelming weight of the evidence; (2) whether Bishop was
irreparably prejudiced by an improper limitation of his
cross-examination of Brenda's mother; (3) whether the
trial court erred by excluding evidence that Brenda had been
in the presence of another man suspected of abuse; and (4)
whether trial counsel was ineffective for failing to request
an alibi instruction.
After a thorough review of the record, we affirm.
Two girls, Alice and Brenda, accused Bishop of sexual abuse.
We will recount the facts of the case and the course of the
proceedings as they pertain to the respective victims and
corresponding counts charged.
Alice was born in 2001. When she was about five years old,
she and her mother began attending church, where she met
Bishop and his wife, Dorothy. Alice described how Bishop and
Dorothy quickly became friends with Alice's mother. At
first, Bishop was nice to Alice; thereafter, Bishop would
separate her from others at church, take her to the back of
the church, and touch her inappropriately.
When Alice was about seven, and after the abuse had already
begun, Alice and her mother were evicted from their
apartment. The Bishops owned a garage apartment and allowed
Alice and her mother to stay there. The sexual abuse
continued within the confines of Bishop's household,
where Bishop would invite Alice to a back bedroom to play
with his cats while his wife, Dorothy, remained in the front
of the house in her recliner. The abuse ended when Alice was
removed from her mother's custody in February 2016 due to
her mother's inability to properly care for her.
The following five counts pertain to Alice and recount, in
detail, the abuse she suffered.
Count I: Gratification of Lust
Alice testified that when she was between five and seven
years old, Bishop would take her to the back of their church
and touch her breasts and buttocks both on top of and inside
her clothing. Alice testified that Bishop told her that she
was "pretty or sexy and that he loved [her] and that
[she] was beautiful." These events occurred between
September 20, 2006, and April 1, 2007.
Count II: Sexual Battery
The abuse continued after Alice moved into Bishop's
garage apartment with her mother. Alice testified that during
visits to Bishop's house, Bishop would take her to his
bedroom, ostensibly to show her his cats. Once in the
bedroom, Bishop would pull her pants down and lay her on his
bed. Bishop would then touch her vagina, both inside and out,
using his fingers, hands, and mouth. On some occasions,
Bishop would penetrate Alice's vulva. Bishop abused Alice
like this "once a week or more."
Count III: Statutory Rape
Alice testified that in April 2007, just a few days before
Easter Sunday, Bishop raped her. Alice testified that Bishop
put something in her juice which made her feel lightheaded.
He then placed her on the bed in the back bedroom and removed
her pants. After Alice struggled to the extent that she
could, Bishop got on top of her. While Bishop was on top of
Alice, she felt pressure and pain in her vaginal area. She
passed out, and when she regained consciousness, she was
covered in blood and surrounded by bloody sheets. Bishop
cleaned Alice up, took the sheets off of the bed and placed
them in a bag, and put Alice's pants back on her. Alice
continued to find traces of blood in her panties for two
months thereafter. According to Alice, Bishop threatened to
kill her and her mother if Alice told anyone about the rape.
Count IV: Sexual Battery
The abuse that formed the basis for Count II continued after
Bishop had raped Alice. Bishop continued to put his mouth,
hands, and fingers in and around Alice's vagina. Alice
testified that this abuse continued until she was about ten
Count V: Gratification of Lust
After Alice turned ten years old, Bishop continued to touch
Alice inappropriately. Alice testified that whenever Bishop
had the chance, he would put Alice in a "death-like
grasp" and touch her breasts and butt as he had done
before. Bishop would also pull out his penis and ask Alice to
touch it and kiss it. When Alice refused, Bishop would force
his penis to her ...