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State v. Dejesus

Court of Appeals of North Carolina

May 7, 2019

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
v.
ALEXANDER DEJESUS, AKA ALEXANDER SIGARU-ARGUETA

          Heard in the Court of Appeals February 14, 2019.

          Appeal by defendant from judgment entered 3 April 2018 by Judge Carl R. Fox in Wake County No. 16 CRS 223217 Superior Court.

          Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Special Deputy Attorney General Neil C. Dalton and Assistant Attorney General Kathryne E. Hathcock, for the State.

          Appellate Defender Glenn Gerding, by Assistant Appellate Defender Katy Dickinson-Schultz, for defendant-appellant.

          ZACHARY, Judge.

         Defendant Alexander DeJesus, a.k.a. Alexander Sigaru-Argueta, appeals from a judgment entered upon a bench verdict finding him guilty of three counts of statutory rape of a child. Defendant argues that the trial court erred in (1) denying his motion to dismiss two counts of statutory rape based on the corpus delicti rule, (2) admitting a purported copy of the victim's Honduran birth certificate, and (3) ordering that he enroll in lifetime satellite-based monitoring. We affirm the trial court's denial of Defendant's motion to dismiss, conclude that the trial court did not err in admitting the copy of the victim's Honduran birth certificate, and dismiss Defendant's appeal concerning the trial court's satellite-based monitoring order.

         Background

         Defendant was indicted on 23 January 2017 for three counts of statutory rape of a child, each with a listed offense date of "April 1, 2016 through May 31, 2016." Defendant waived his right to a jury trial, and a bench trial was thereafter held before the Honorable Carl R. Fox in Wake County Superior Court beginning on 2 April 2018.

         The evidence tended to show that Defendant was in a relationship with the victim's mother, and that Defendant, the victim, and the victim's mother were living together during the time in question. Sometime during the fall of 2016, the victim's middle school social worker Megan Vaughan noticed that the victim was visibly pregnant. The victim was in seventh grade at the time. After speaking with the victim, Ms. Vaughan filed an incident report with the Raleigh Police Department.

         When Detective Alex Doughty met with the victim on 1 December 2016, she identified Defendant as the father of her child. Detective Doughty took several photographs of the victim in order "to show her youth and the fact of her age being what it was. And, unfortunately, . . . because of the stage of which her stomach appeared to be."

         Detective Doughty also interviewed Defendant on 1 December 2016. Detective Doughty testified that during the interview, he "confronted [Defendant] directly" about the paternity of the victim's child:

[THE STATE:] What was his response to that?
[DETECTIVE DOUGHTY:] I proposed it as an either/or question to him in regards to that I knew that he was the father of the child. What I was concerned about was whether or not that it was consensual or a forced event.
. . . .
Q. What did the defendant say to you about that?
A. He had stated that he had never forced [the victim] and that everything that had occurred between the two of them was consensual.
Q. Now, . . . when he said everything that occurred, did you clarify with him what that meant?
A. He defined that as that they had consensual sex on at least three occasions that he could account for.
Q. And how, if at all, did he describe the type of sex that they had?
A. Just vaginal penile. I went into clarity with him about the several methods in which sex could occur as well as any potential sex offenses involving cunnilingus, fellatio. Again, he denied that there was anything other than just vaginal sex.
. . . .
Q. . . . You said that he said that it was three times?
A. That's correct.
Q. And do you recall anything that he said about those three different times?
A. No. He only indicated that there was three times.
Q. Did he-do you recall whether he said that they were ...

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