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Black v. State

Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals

October 25, 2019

Adrian Lee Black
v.
State of Alabama

          Appeal from Madison Circuit Court (CC-17-1436)

          McCOOL, JUDGE.

         Adrian Lee Black appeals his conviction for first-degree rape, a violation of § 13A-6-61, Ala. Code 1975; his conviction for first-degree sodomy, a violation of § 13A-6-63, Ala. Code 1975; and his two convictions for first-degree sexual abuse, a violation of § 13A-6-66, Ala. Code 1975. The trial court sentenced Black to 20 years' imprisonment for the rape conviction, 20 years' imprisonment for the sodomy conviction, and 5 years' imprisonment for each of the sexual-abuse convictions, the sentences to run concurrently.

         Facts and Procedural History

         The evidence at trial established the following facts. In 2008, Black moved into the house where D.K. lived with his wife, L.K., and their daughters, M.E.K. and M.K.; at that time, Black was in his "late 30s" (R. 189), and M.E.K. and M.K. were 12 and 10 years of age, respectively.[1] The testimony was inconsistent as to how and why Black came to live with D.K. and his family, but it appears that L.K. met Black "[t]hrough the internet" (R. 394) and subsequently arranged for him to move into the family's house to "help her run" the grocery store she owned (R. 188) and to serve as "a handyman around the house." (R. 246.) D.K. testified that "everyone seemed to get along with [Black]" (R. 189) and "trusted him and treated him as one of the family." (R. 190). In fact, D.K. testified that he "grew to love [Black] like a brother" (R. 189) and that Black was eventually entrusted with some responsibility for supervising M.E.K. and M.K., including "dropp[ing] the girls off at school, pick[ing] them up, things like that." (R. 190.) D.K. also testified that, on multiple occasions, Black traveled on overnight trips with L.K., M.E.K., and M.K., and evidence established that, on one occasion, D.K. and L.K. allowed Black to take M.K. and M.E.K. to Perdido Key for spring break. In short, D.K. responded affirmatively when asked if Black was "like another parental figure" for M.E.K. and M.K. (R. 190.)

         M.K. testified that, when Black first moved into her family's house, she "avoided him because he was a stranger" but that she "had to call [Black] Uncle ... [b]ecause [L.K.] said so." (R. 242.) However, M.K. testified that, after Black had been living in the family's house approximately one year, "everyone else trusted him, so [she] didn't see a reason to avoid him and be afraid of him." (R. 243.) In fact, it was undisputed that, at some point after Black moved into the family's house, M.E.K. and M.K. began sleeping in Black's bedroom because, D.K. testified, "they didn't like sleeping alone." (R. 194.) M.K. testified that she began spending "one-on-one" time with Black at that point because her family "pretty much ignored her ..., and [she] was just kind of a clingy youngest child." (R. 244.) According to M.K., she and Black "would pretty much do anything, like go out to eat, sleep in the same bed together, watch movies, like anything that a couple would do." (R. 243-44.) In fact, M.K. testified that Black "referred to [her] as his wife on occasion" and that he was "excited for [her] to turn 18" so that he and she "could go across state lines and maybe get married some day." (R. 252.) However, despite Black's perception of his relationship with M.K., M.K. testified that she considered Black to be an authority figure (R. 246), that L.K. had instructed her to obey Black (R. 247), that she "obeyed [Black] more than [she] obeyed [L.K.]" (R. 320), and that L.K. would "very angrily" instruct her to apologize to Black "every time [M.K.] would make him upset." (R. 247.) M.E.K. also testified that Black "was someone that was deemed like an authority figure" in the family's house. (R. 352.)

         When M.K. was 17 years of age, she reported to a social worker at her high school that Black had repeatedly sexually assaulted her from the time she was 11 years of age. Regarding the circumstances under which those sexual assaults occurred, M.K. testified:

"Q. Let's start at the beginning. What's the first thing that [Black] did that you felt, at least looking back on, was abusive, the very first thing?
"A. Well, he would -- we were laying on his bed, and I was not wearing a bra. I believe I was either 11 or 12. He just reaches over and, like, squeezes my breast for some reason.
"....
"Q. After that time when he grabbed your breast in his bed, what was the next thing that happened that you remember?
"A. He got really upset about something. We were home alone. He kept threatening to leave. I was terrified because I didn't want to get in trouble because, I guess, I did something to make him upset. So then he was like, 'Tell me you love me.' I was like, 'I love you.' He was like, 'Give me a kiss,' so I kissed him on the cheek. He wasn't satisfied, so he grabbed my head and planted a kiss on my lips, and I started sobbing really hard. That made him stay, but he was irritated that I wasn't happy with it.
"Q. How old were you when that happened?
"A. Twelve.
"....
"Q. Going back to that time that he grabbed your breast on the bed, ... [h]ow did that make you feel when he grabbed you?
"A. Disgusted.
"Q. What did you do afterwards?
"A. I felt like I could control it in the future if maybe I told him we couldn't hug anymore from the front.
"Q. Did you make a decision not to hug him from the front anymore then?
"A. Yes, but then it just gradually ended up happening anyway.
"Q. After that time ... that he kissed you against your will, what was the next thing that happened?
"A. We would just be laying in bed together, and he used to hold me from behind because I was, for some reason, terrified of the dark and being alone, so I liked the security. At first it was fine, but then he made it only an opportunity to rub his penis against my behind with his clothes on.
"Q. When you say he held you from behind, were you --
"A. It was like spooning.
"....
"Q. Did this happen one time or more than one time?
"A. More than once.
"Q. How old were you the first time it happened?
"A. Thirteen.
"Q. How old were you the last time it happened?
"A. Seventeen.
"....
"Q. What was the next thing that you remember after [Black] pressing up against you in the bed?
"A. He would make me touch his genitals over his clothes. Then, after that, he would be like, 'Put your hand inside,' and I really didn't want to, and I just kept saying that. He was like, 'Do it for me.'
"....
"Q. Was that one time or more than one time?
"A. More than one time.
"Q. How old were you the first time it happened?
"A. Fourteen.
"Q. How old were you the last time that he made you touch his genitals over his clothes?
"A. I guess 16.
"Q. When [you] said he made you touch him, what part of your body did he make you touch him with?
"A. My hands.
"Q. You said that eventually he told you to touch him under his clothes?
"A. Yes.
"Q. Do you remember the first time that happened?
"A. I believe I was 14.
"Q. It was your hand?
"A. Yes.
"....
"Q. What was happening before he made you touch him?
"A. We were just laying there.
"Q. Did he say anything to you?
"A. I don't remember.
"Q. Did you say anything to him?
"A. No.
"....
"Q. How did it come about that your hand was on his genitals? Did he place your hand there or tell you where to put your hand?
"A. He placed my hand there.
"....
"Q. About how long did your hands stay on his genitals?
"A. Until it was okay for me ... not to do it, like, he wouldn't get mad at me if I stopped.
"Q. How would you know that he wouldn't get mad at you if you stopped?
"....
"A. I would usually just try [to] get away by saying, 'I have to go to the bathroom,' and that would make him upset, but at least it would make it stop for a minute.
"Q. Do you remember how many times he made you touch his genitals under his clothes?
"A. No. It was quite a bit.
"....
"Q. I want you to think of a time that ... he made you touch him under his clothes. Tell me how old you were.
"A. I believe I was either 14 or 15. Me and him would go to church in the morning at 8:00 a.m., so the rest of the family would go either in the afternoon or evening, so he would take that time when they went in the afternoon. We would go to his bedroom, and we would -- he would pull my pants down and put me over the edge of the bed and take his pants down as well and just, like, use my legs that were pressed together and put his large penis, like -- basically like scrape it underneath my vagina ....
"....
"Q. ... After the first time that he made you touch his genitals, what was the next thing that happened between you that made you uncomfortable?
"A. When I was 15, before he would drop me off at school, he would penetrate me with his fingers in his bed.
"....
"Q. Was this one time or more than one time?
"A. More than one time.
"....
"Q. Where did he put his finger?
"A. In my vagina.
"Q. What was happening before he did that to you?
"A. We were just lying down; we were laying down in bed.
"....
"Q. Did he say anything when it happened or while he was doing it?
"A. No.
"Q. Did you say anything?
"A. No.
"....
"Q. What did you do -- how did it stop? What caused it to end where he would stop touching you on that occasion?
"A. I guess just getting ...

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