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Harris v. State

Court of Appeals of Georgia

July 13, 2015

HARRIS
v.
THE STATE

Page 603

Child molestation, etc. Clayton Superior Court. Before Judge Benefield, Senior Judge.

John W. Kraus, for appellant.

Tracy Graham-Lawson, District Attorney, Elizabeth A. Baker, Assistant District Attorney, for appellee.

OPINION

Page 604

McFadden, Judge.

Andre Harris appeals from his convictions of child molestation and enticing a child for indecent purposes. He challenges the sufficiency of the evidence, the allowance of certain rebuttal testimony, a jury charge on the asportation element of enticing a child for indecent purposes, and the effectiveness of his trial counsel. However, there was sufficient evidence to support the jury's verdict, Harris opened the door to the rebuttal testimony, the court correctly charged the jury on asportation, and Harris has failed to show that his counsel's performance was both deficient and prejudicial. Accordingly, we affirm.

1. Sufficiency of the evidence.

On appeal from a criminal conviction, the standard for reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence

is whether a rational trier of fact could have found the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This [c]ourt does not reweigh evidence or resolve conflicts in testimony; instead, evidence is reviewed in a light most favorable to the verdict, with deference to the jury's assessment of the weight and credibility of the evidence.

Hayes v. State, 292 Ga. 506 (739 S.E.2d 313) (2013) (citations omitted).

So viewed, the evidence shows that Harris is the biological father of K. H. In August 2010, when K. H. was 11 years old, she moved from her mother's home in Spalding County to Harris' home in Clayton County, where he lived with his wife and their two minor children. Unbeknownst to K. H.'s mother, at that time, Harris had child molestation charges pending against him, arising from an incident in 2009 involving a nine-year-old girl. In March 2011, while K. H. was still living with him, Harris pled guilty to two counts of child molestation. As a registered sex offender, he could no longer live in [333 Ga.App. 119] the same house because it was near a school. So in September 2011, Harris moved his family, including then 12-year-old K. H., to another house in Clayton County.

Shortly after the move to the new house, Harris began entering K. H.'s bedroom in early morning hours once or twice a week. Harris would awaken K. H. and tell her to come with him to massage his back. Harris would then take his daughter to another room in the house, usually his music studio. Harris would lie face-down on the floor and instruct K. H. to sit on his back and massage it with her buttocks by moving in a circular motion. He would then turn over, lie on his back, and instruct her do the same thing while sitting on his crotch area, having her massage his genitals with her buttocks by moving her hips in a circular motion. After approximately 20 minutes, Harris would tell her " good job" and allow her to return to her bedroom. He also instructed his daughter not to tell others about the incidents.

In December 2011, K. H. moved back to live with her mother. In April 2012, she went to visit Harris and his family during spring break. On that occasion, while the rest of the family was at church, Harris called K. H. into his bedroom where he again had her sit on him and move her buttocks in a circular motion. K. H. could feel that his penis was hard and that it moved as she rotated her buttocks. Harris apparently ejaculated on K. H.'s clothed buttocks as she subsequently discovered what she described as a white gooey substance on the back of her shorts.

Harris testified on his own behalf, denying that the molestation of K. H. had occurred and claiming that the prior acts of molestation of the nine-year-old girl had been an isolated incident and that he had never done anything like that before. On rebuttal, the state introduced ...


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