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Dyson v. United States

May 06, 2004


Appeal from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (F1764-01) (Hon. Russell F. Canan, Trial Judge)

Before Steadman, Reid and Washington, Associate Judges.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reid, Associate Judge

Argued March 9, 2004

After a jury trial, appellant Darnell Dyson was convicted of two counts of first-degree sexual abuse while armed, in violation of D.C. Code § 22-4102 (1996). He filed a timely notice of appeal challenging (1) the trial court's jurisdiction over *fn1 the charged crimes of which he was convicted; (2) the trial court's admission of certain testimony under the report of rape exception to the hearsay rule; and (3) the failure of the trial court to grant his motion for relief from prejudicial joinder of offenses. We hold that the trial court had territorial jurisdiction in this case because an element of first-degree sexual abuse, the use of force for the purpose of compelling sexual activity, occurred within the boundaries of the District of Columbia. In addition, we conclude that the trial court properly admitted the testimony of a hospital nurse under the report of rape hearsay exception, and did not abuse its discretion in permitting the joinder of offenses occurring on two different dates and involving different complainants but the same defendant.


The government presented evidence showing that on March 17, 2001, in the evening hours, Carnisha Allsbrook and Teka Thomas went to a liquor store located at 8 and Hth Streets, in the Northeast quadrant of the District of Columbia, where they encountered two men, later identified as Mr. Dyson and Kenneth Roots. Because the store did not have the brand names the women requested, they accepted the offer of a ride to another store. The women climbed into a Mazda MPV van with the men; another man, later identified as Antawan Hamilton, was also present. Ms. Allsbrook directed the driver to another liquor store a few blocks away, at 11 and H Streets. After a short stop at Ms. Allsbrook's hometh at 20 and K Streets, N.E., the women returned to the van, began to drink orange juice andth Remy VSOP, and talked about getting "some weed." The van moved towards 48 Street andth Eastern Avenue and stopped near an apartment building, according to Ms. Allsbrook. All *fn2 of the passengers exited the van and went into the apartment building. There they initially listened to music, drank, and smoked marijuana.

Ms. Allsbrook and Mr. Roots moved to another room of the apartment. Ms. Allsbrook indicated her willingness to have sex with Mr. Roots so long as he used a condom. As events proceeded to unfold inside the apartment, the women became aware that the men were armed.

Eventually the three men and the women left the apartment and returned to the van. Ms. Allsbrook and Ms. Thomas were ordered to lie down on the back seats. Mr. Dyson drove the van. When Ms. Allsbrook lifted her head and pointed out that they were not going toward her home, Mr. Roots poured liquor on her. He had a gun in hand and ordered Ms. Allsbrook to move to the front of the van, and to have oral sex first with Mr. Dyson and then with him. Mr. Roots also "threatened to kill [Ms. Allsbrook and Ms. Thomas] and bury them." Ms. Allsbrook complied with the order to perform oral sex on the men. After the sexual activity, the women were pushed out of the van separately. Ms. Allsbrook noticed that she was near the Pepsi Cola plant, located not far from the District border in Maryland, and found a gas station where she sought assistance. Police from Cheverly, Maryland arrived first, followed by officers from the District's Metropolitan Police Department. Ms. Allsbrook was taken to a police station in the District, where she recounted the events of the evening, and then she was transported to Howard University Hospital.

At Howard University Hospital, Julie Stuckey, a sexual assault nurse examiner ("SANE") met Ms. Allsbrook. At Mr. Dyson's trial Nurse Stuckey was asked in part: "[W]hat did [Ms. Allsbrook] say happened?" Nurse Stuckey replied:

She got into the van [and was driven to the] 1300 block [of] Eastern [Avenue], Northeast, Washington. And while there at the residence suspect two, which is Mo [Mr. Dyson], said that he was going to go to the store to purchase condoms. When he came back, he kicked in the bedroom door and suspect one, which is Stretch [Mr. Roots], was vaginally assaulting [Ms. Allsbrook].

Nurse Stuckey also stated that Ms. Allsbrook recounted seeing Ms. Thomas "on her knees performing oral sex on . . . [Mr. Roots while Mr. Dyson] was vaginally assaulting her from behind." When asked what Ms. Allsbrook had said about events in the van after she left the residence, Nurse Stuckey declared:

While they were in the van, [Mr. Roots] also had the gun the whole time. Told the two girls to lay in the back of the van . . . .

[Mr. Roots] told [Ms. Allsbrook] to come up and perform oral sex. And he had a gun to her head. He also had her perform oral sex on the driver, [Mr. Dyson] . . . . [T]hen [Mr. Roots] wants [Ms. Thomas] to come up from behind and perform oral sex on [Mr. Roots]. And to have [Ms. Allsbrook] do [Mr. Dyson]. And they do, again, with the threat of the gun . . . . [Mr. ...

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