Court throws out one sexual battery conviction

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Nickey Williams’ 50-year prison sentence is 20 years shorter after a Mississippi Supreme Court ruling Thursday.
Williams was convicted in August 2008 in Lee County Circuit Court on two counts of sexual battery. One victim was 4 years old and the other less than a year old.
His trial was before Judge “Jim” Seth Pounds, with Williams’ appeal by George T. Holmes and Leslie S. Lee with the Office of Indigent Appeals.
Justice Jim Kitchens, writing for the 5-4 majority, said there was “insufficient evidence” to support a guilty verdict on the second alleged crime. The decision vacates that 20-year sentence, which Williams was serving in addition to the first 30-year sentence.
Presiding Justice James Graves, with Justices Michael Randolph, David Chandler and Randy Pierce, dissented in part.
Based on the substance of witness testimony, Graves wrote, it was “reasonable” for the jury to believe Williams sexually battered the younger child.
However, Kitchens wrote that a doctor’s testimony about the younger child gauged his opinion of an assault in terms of “suspicion of probability,” which Kitchens said is insufficient in a criminal case.
The record shows the doctor’s description of his examination of the older child showed her injuries to be “definitely consistent” with sexual abuse. The court affirmed this conviction.
The court denied Williams’ other claims of trial error.