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State v. Knight

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

December 5, 2013

STATE OF ARIZONA, Appellee,
v.
CHARLES DONALD KNIGHT, Appellant.

Not for Publication – Rule 111(c), Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court

Appeal from the Superior Court in Mohave County No. S8015CR201200120 The Honorable Steven F. Conn, Judge

Arizona Attorney General's Office, Phoenix By Craig W. Soland Counsel for Appellee

Mohave County Legal Defender's Office, Kingman By Diane S. McCoy Counsel for Appellant

Judge Donn Kessler delivered the decision of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Andrew W. Gould and Judge Michael J. Brown joined.

MEMORANDUM DECISION

KESSLER, Judge

¶1Charles Donald Knight appeals his convictions on two counts of child molestation, a class 2 felony and dangerous crime against children; one count of sexual conduct with a minor, a class 2 felony and dangerous crime against children; one count of public sexual indecency to a minor, a class 5 felony; and one count of luring a minor for sexual exploitation, a class 3 felony and dangerous crime against children. Knight argues that the trial court erred by denying his motion to suppress, admitting improper expert testimony, and failing to give a lesser-included instruction. Knight also claims that one of the counts of child molestation involved a duplicitous charge. For reasons that follow, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2 A grand jury indicted Knight on one count of child molestation, two counts of sexual conduct with a minor under the age of fifteen, one count of public sexual indecency to a minor under the age of fifteen, and one count of luring a minor under the age of fifteen for sexual exploitation. The charges stemmed from allegations he engaged in sexual misconduct with a six-year old girl. The count of child molestation and one of the counts of sexual conduct with a minor were alleged to have been committed in Knight's bedroom. The three other counts were alleged to have been committed on a second occasion with the same victim in the garage of Knight's home in the presence of another six-year-old girl.

¶3 Before trial, Knight moved to suppress statements he made to detectives at his home, arguing that his admissions were obtained in violation of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). Following an evidentiary hearing, the trial court denied the motion. The trial court found that no Miranda violation occurred because Knight was not in custody when he made the statements.

¶4 Upon trial to a jury, Knight was found guilty as charged on the counts of child molestation and sexual conduct with a minor with respect to the sexual misconduct alleged to have occurred in his bedroom. The jury further found Knight guilty as charged on the counts of public sexual indecency to a minor and luring a minor for sexual exploitation, but convicted him of the lesser-included offense of child molestation with respect to the charge of sexual conduct with a minor alleged to have occurred in his garage. The trial court sentenced Knight to life with the possibility of release after thirty-five years on his conviction for sexual conduct with a minor. The concurrent and consecutive prison terms imposed on the four other convictions increased the life term by an additional nineteen years. Knight timely appealed.

DISCUSSION

I. Denial of Motion to Suppress

¶5 Knight argues the trial court erred in denying his motion to suppress statements made to detectives prior to being advised of his Miranda rights. We review a trial court's ruling on a motion to suppress a defendant's statements for an abuse of discretion, viewing the evidence at the suppression hearing in the light most favorable to upholding the ruling. State v. Ellison, 213 Ariz. 116, 126, ¶ 25, 140 P.3d 899, 909 (2006). In doing so, we review the factual findings underlying the determination for an abuse of discretion, ...


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