BARNES, P. J., MERCIER and BROWN, JJ.
a bench trial, Robert Lee Hudson was convicted of aggravated
sexual battery, statutory rape, and aggravated child
molestation. He appeals, arguing that the trial court erred
in denying his motion to suppress. We affirm.
favorably to the verdict, the evidence shows the following.
See Blackwell v. State, 337 Ga.App. 173, 174 (786
S.E.2d 552) (2016). On November 30, 2015, the mother of
13-year-old D. M. reported to police that she had discovered
sexually explicit social media messages exchanged between D.
M. and Hudson. The police interviewed D. M., who stated that
she and Hudson had met online, corresponded via social media,
and engaged in both sexual intercourse and oral sex on
several occasions at her home. D. M. picked Hudson's
picture out of a photographic lineup and identified him as
the man with whom she had sex.
interviewing D. M. and reviewing the sexually explicit
messages, the investigating officers went to the apartment
complex where Hudson possibly lived and saw him walking
toward an apartment that had been leased by his wife. They
lost sight of Hudson and, believing that he had entered the
apartment, knocked on the front door. No one responded.
Instead, the officers spotted Hudson running behind the
apartment building. They apprehended him after a short chase,
arrested him, placed him in a patrol car, and read him his
rights pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436
(86 S.Ct. 1602, 16 L.Ed.2d 694) (1966).
receiving his Miranda warnings, Hudson made several
statements to police. He initially denied any inappropriate
conduct and asserted that he did not know D. M. The following
conversation then occurred:
Officer: Maybe you just didn't know [D. M.] was young.
Maybe she told you a lie, told you she was a different age.
If that's what happened you just need to tell me that, so
I know. But to tell me that you don't know her and you
was never there, and I know that's a lie, then that's
Hudson: Ain't gonna help me neither sir if I go to jail.
If I tell you I messed with her like, I'm admitting the
Officer: At least then I could tell them you cooperated
instead of lying to me. Then denying it and them proving that
you denied it and lied. They [will] throw the book at you.
that exchange, Hudson admitted that he and D. M. had engaged
in sexual intercourse and oral sex and that he had placed his
fingers inside her vagina. He insisted, however, that D. M.
had told him she was 20 years old.
to trial, Hudson moved to suppress his statements to police.
The trial court granted the motion in part, excluding any
custodial statements Hudson made before he was advised of his
Miranda rights, but denied the motion as to relevant
statements made after he received the Miranda
warnings. The case proceeded to a bench trial on stipulated
evidence, and the trial court found Hudson guilty of
aggravated sexual battery, statutory rape, and aggravated
child molestation. Hudson filed a motion for new trial, which
the trial court denied, and this appeal followed.
Asserting that his "confession was the product of a
threat," Hudson argues that the trial court erred in
refusing to suppress the incriminating statements. Before
admitting evidence of a confession, a "trial court must
consider the totality of the circumstances and assess whether
the defendant made the statement voluntarily."
Blackwell, supra at 175 (1); see also OCGA §
24-8-824 ("To make a confession admissible, it shall
have been made voluntarily, without being induced by another
by the slightest hope of benefit or remotest fear of
injury."). We will not reverse a trial court's
determination as to voluntariness absent clear error. See
argued below that the police coerced his confession by
"saying they would throw the book at [him] if [he
didn't] confess[.]" The trial court rejected this
claim, finding the officer's statement to be "akin
to a mere 'truism' or recounting of fact rather than
a threat of injury that would render the statement
agree. "There is a material difference between a
statement to a [suspect] that it would be better for him to
tell the truth, and one wherein he is told that it would be
better for him to make a confession." Rogers v.
State, 142 Ga.App. 387, 388 (2) (236 S.E.2d 134) (1977)
(citations, punctuation, and emphasis omitted). Mere
"exhortations that [an accused] should tell the
truth" do not render a confession involuntary because
"no hope of benefit springs from such an
admonishment." M ...