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Court of Appeals overturns rape conviction

LITTLE ROCK — A man convicted of raping a child is entitled to a new trial because jurors were not allowed to hear testimony that the alleged victim was heard saying she lied on the stand, the state Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday.

The court overturned the conviction of Myriccki McClendon, who was sentenced in Pulaski County Circuit Court to 25 years in prison for raping a child under age 14. The trial judge also revoked McClendon’s probation in two other cases and sentenced him to six years in prison in each, to run concurrently with the rape sentence.

A jury found McClendon guilty after the alleged victim testified at the trial that McClendon raped her. After the girl testified, bystanders reported to the judge that she came out of the courtroom saying, “I did it. I did it. I lied about something in there. I said what y’all told me to say.”

The judge allowed the defense to call the girl to the stand the next day and ask her if she had said anything when she left the courtroom the previous day, but the judge said the defense could not ask the girl about her specific alleged statements and said that if the she did not confirm the bystanders’ testimony, that would be the end of it.

The girl testified that she talked to a woman about seahorses and flowers. She said she did not remember saying anything else.

At that point the defense should have been allowed to call the bystanders to the stand, the Court of Appeals said in its unanimous opinion Wednesday.

“When a witness is asked about (a) prior statement and either denies making it or fails to remember making it, extrinsic evidence of the prior statement is admissible,” Judge David Glover wrote in the opinion.

The appeals court also overturned the two revocations of probation because they were based on the rape conviction. It remanded the case to Pulaski County Circuit Court for a new trial.

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