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Christopher David Harrell v. the State of Wyoming

September 16, 2011

CHRISTOPHER DAVID HARRELL, APPELLANT (DEFENDANT),
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, APPELLEE (PLAINTIFF).



Appeal from the District Court of Campbell County The Honorable Michael N. Deegan, Judge

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hill, Justice.

Before KITE, C.J., and GOLDEN, HILL, VOIGT, and BURKE, JJ.

NOTICE: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in Pacific Reporter Third. Readers are requested to notify the Clerk of the Supreme Court, Supreme Court Building, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002, of any typographical or other formal errors so that correction may be made before final publication in the permanent volume.

[¶1] After being convicted of rape, kidnapping, and assault, appellant Christopher Harrell (Harrell) argues on appeal that the district court abused its discretion when it did not allow him to introduce evidence regarding a previous battery charge. We affirm.

ISSUE

[¶2] Harrell presents one issue:

Did the district court err when it denied [Harrell's] request to admit evidence pertaining to a prior arrest, after the State's witness opened the door by mentioning the arrest, in violation of the court's previous order?

FACTS

[¶3] Harrell and the victim, GP, began dating in 2009. In early February of 2010, Harrell moved out of the victim's home after GP obtained a domestic violence protection order against him. However, the two continued to communicate.

[¶4] On March 2, 2010, Harrell sent a text message to GP indicating that he was "horny," and for the next hour and a half, the two exchanged text messages. Before she went to bed, GP decided to pick up Harrell from his friend's house because he had been drinking, and brought him to her home so he could sleep on the couch. After arriving home, GP testified that she and Harrell kissed prior to entering the house, that then she and Harrell began arguing over previous domestic disputes, and the fight escalated. GP testified that Harrell began strangling her, retrieved a hammer and box cutter, and then proceeded to assault and rape her, both vaginally and anally. According to GP, the assault and rape continued throughout the night and into the morning.

[¶5] That next morning, the police received an anonymous call that Harrell was at GP's residence and they arrived at the residence where Harrell was arrested for violating the protection order against him. The case proceeded to trial, and after a jury convicted Harrell of three counts of sexual assault in the first degree, one count of kidnapping, and one count of aggravated assault and battery, he was sentenced to the Wyoming State Penitentiary for a period of not less than ten nor more than fifty years on each of the three sexual assault convictions, to run consecutively; not less than twenty years nor more than life for the kidnapping conviction, to be served consecutive to the first three; and not less than eight nor more than ten years, for the aggravated assault conviction, to run concurrent to the first sexual assault sentence. This appeal followed.

DISCUSSION

[ΒΆ6] Harrell's only issue on appeal is that the district court abused its discretion when it did not allow him to introduce evidence that he had been ...


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