Appealed from the First Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Caddo, Louisiana Trial Court No. 327254 Honorable
John D. Mosley, Jr., Judge
LOUISIANA APPELLATE PROJECT BY: Carey J. Ellis, III Counsel
E. STEWART, SR. District Attorney Counsel for Appellee
Y. MCGINNESS TOMMY J. JOHNSON Assistant District Attorneys
GARRETT, STEPHENS, and MCCALLUM, JJ.
criminal appeal arises from the First Judicial District
Court, Caddo Parish, State of Louisiana. The defendant,
Jessie Jones, was charged with one count of indecent behavior
with a juvenile under the age of 13, in violation of La. R.S.
14:81(A)(1) and (H)(2). After a jury trial, Jones was found
guilty as charged and sentenced to ten years at hard labor,
with one year to be served without benefit of probation,
parole, or suspension of sentence. Jones's motions for
new trial, post-verdict judgment of acquittal and
reconsideration of sentence were denied. On appeal, Jones
challenges his sentence, claiming it is excessive. For the
following reasons, Jones's conviction is affirmed and his
sentence is vacated and remanded for resentencing.
victim in this case is A.J. Jones's granddaughter, who
was nine years old at the time of the offense. Jones was 65
years old at the time of the offense. Jones was charged by
amended bill of information with indecent behavior with a
juvenile under the age of 13, in violation of La. R.S.
14:81(A)(1) and (H)(2).
trial commenced, wherein six witnesses testified, all called
by the state. The victim's great aunt and Jones's
sister, B.B., testified that A.J. often spent nights with her
and Jones and went to church with them on Sundays. A.J. would
sleep on the couch when she spent the night. On August 16,
2014, A.J. and her brother spent the night with B.B. and
Jones, and the children slept on separate couches in the
living room. B.B. testified that during the night, A.J.
knocked on her bedroom door, woke her, and told her that her
"PawPaw" (i.e., Jones) was trying to touch
her. B.B. stated that A.J. was "shook up, " and
B.B. was concerned. B.B. left the bedroom and asked Jones
what happened, to which he only shrugged his shoulders with
no verbal reply. A.J. slept with B.B. the rest of the night
and went home to her mother the following day after church.
B.B. did not tell A.J.'s mother about the incident.
testified and stated that she was in seventh grade and her
birthday is September 23, 2004. She identified B.B. as her
"auntie, " but stated she calls her
"Nana." A.J. recalled that in 2014 she would often
go to B.B.'s house to visit on the weekends. She further
recalled going to the Gingerbread House in August of 2014
and talking with a lady there and that the conversation was
recorded. A.J. confirmed that she had watched the recording
of the interview. The interview was played for the jury with
no objection. The videotape was admitted into evidence after
A.J. verified the authenticity of the recording and
identified Jones in court. The defense did not cross-examine
mother, S.J., testified and corroborated that A.J. often
spent the night at B.B's house. According to S.J., when
A.J. came home after church on August 17, 2014, she told her
that "PawPaw touched my, you know, tee-tee
[tu-tu]." S.J. related that A.J. referred to her vagina
as her "tu-tu." S.J. was present, but in another
room, during the Gingerbread House interview.
Flippo, a forensic interviewer for the Gingerbread House,
testified regarding her interview with A.J. on August 29,
2014. Flippo recounted her conversation with A.J., stating
that A.J. said that she was asleep on the couch at B.B.'s
house when she felt something that woke her up, and she
swatted at a hand that was touching her. A. J. related to
Flippo that when she looked around, Jones was hiding behind
the couch. A.J. told Flippo that she was wearing a dress and
that Jones had touched her "tu-tu, " on and inside
her underwear. Since it was clear from A.J.'s reference
to her underwear, Flippo did not use the anatomical drawings
to have A.J. identify the body part that Jones touched.
Flippo's notes taken during the interview with A.J. were
admitted into evidence as Exhibit S-2.
Thomas testified that Jones, whom she identified in court,
had dated her mother about 30 years prior, when she was seven
to nine years old. Shawna testified that once during that
time, while the family was watching a movie, Jones called her
into the dark kitchen and made her perform oral sex on him.
Shawna further described instances where Jones would have her
and her half-sister lie on a pallet on the floor, with Shawna
in the middle, and he would rub his penis between her legs.
She could not recall how many times this happened but stated
that it happened "quite often, " when her mother
would go to work. Shawna testified that she did not tell
anyone initially because Jones told her that he would kill
her mother if she did. Eventually, when Shawna was 12 years
old, she told her counselor at school but ...