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State of Maine v Kepner

Case No. Han-13-109 (ME S.Ct., Oct. 31, 2013)

William E. Kepner appeals from a judgment of conviction of aggravated criminal trespass (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. § 402-A(1)(A) (2012), and unlawful sexual contact (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. § 255-A(1)(B) (2012), entered by the trial court (A. Murray, J.) after a jury-waived trial. Because the evidence was sufficient for the court to rationally find beyond a reasonable doubt that Kepner’s actions were intentional and knowing, even though he was under the influence of prescription drugs and alcohol and claimed that he was in a blackout state at the time the acts were committed, we affirm the judgment.

I. BACKGROUND



The following facts are undisputed. In the early hours of July 17, 2011, Kepner entered the home of his adult neighbor through a screened bedroom window and, without her express or implied consent, touched and penetrated her genitals with his hand. During the encounter, Kepner told the victim “I’m not going to hurt you” and “you’ll like this,” and then instructed her to engage in oral sex. At that point, the victim tried to escape by asking to go to the bathroom. Feigning disorientation, she moved toward the door, but Kepner said “no, not that way,” grasped her arm, and steered her toward the bathroom. She retreated into the bathroom and locked the door behind her. About a half hour later, the victim unlocked the door and, finding Kepner gone, fled her home and went to a neighbor’s house to call the police. Within an hour, a Maine State Police trooper interviewed Kepner and took a DNA swab of his hands. Subsequent processing revealed the victim’s DNA on Kepner’s hands, and Kepner was arrested on July 22, 2011.

In October 2011, Kepner was charged with burglary (Class B), 17-A M.R.S. § 401(1)(B)(4) (2012), aggravated criminal trespass (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. § 402-A(1)(A) (2012), and unlawful sexual contact (Class C), 17-A M.R.S. § 255-A(1)(B) (2012). Kepner waived indictment and pleaded not guilty to all three charges. Several months later, on Kepner’s motion, the court ordered a mental evaluation pursuant to 15 M.R.S. § 101-D(2) (2012).
 

 

Judge(s): Ellen Gorman
Jurisdiction: Maine Supreme Court
Supreme Court Judge(s)
Donald Alexander
Ellen Gorman
Joseph Jabar
Andrew Mead
Leigh Saufley
Warren Silver

 
Trial Court Judge(s)
Edward Murray

 
Appellant Lawyer(s) Appellant Law Firm(s)
Jeffrey Toothaker

 
Appellee Lawyer(s) Appellee Law Firm(s)
Carletta Bassano Office of the Maine District Attorney Prosecutorial District Seven
Mary Kellett Office of the Maine District Attorney Prosecutorial District Seven

 

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Click the maroon box above for a formatted PDF of the decision.
attendant to the charged offenses. to so enter, and then intentionally subjecting the victim to sexual contact without 4 [¶3] in october 2011, kepner was charged with burglary (class b), medications and alcohol at the time of the encounter with the victim. § 37 (2012); state v. foster, 405 a.2d 726, 729 (me. 1979) (noting that, although motion by either the defendant or the state. see 15 m.r.s. § 101-d(2)(a) (2012). experiencing a blackout, and was under the influence of prescription drugs and of mind.3 victim’s home or touching her. he explained that he was an alcoholic and often encounter does not, in itself, negate the existence of his culpable mental state. evening, it is likely that kepner was in a blackout state at the time he entered the had been prescribed pain medications and was under the influence of these defendant intentionally or knowingly intended an act or result. see 17-a m.r.s. motive refers to “the inducement to do some act,” whereas intent refers to “the mental resolution or determination to do it.” black’s law dictionary 813 (7th ed., 1999). “when the intent to do an v. unsteady on his feet. kepner testified that he had no recollection of entering the trespass and unlawful sexual contact offenses.2 accordingly, the court entered a judgment of guilty on the aggravated criminal 3 [¶5] the psychiatrist who had performed the title 15 evaluation testified number of sequential steps he took and statements he made in the course of william e. kepner did not mean that kepner was not responsible for his behavior. intentional or knowing mental state). the state therefore bore the burden of 1 although kepner had smelled of alcohol, his speech was not slurred and he was not 17-a m.r.s. § 402-a(1)(a) (2012), and unlawful sexual contact (class c), [¶9] evidence of intoxication may raise a reasonable doubt as to whether a [¶4] at a jury-waived trial, the victim and the trooper each testified about and one year of probation. he timely appeals the conviction. hancock county superior court docket number cr-2011-133 feigning disorientation, she moved toward the door, but kepner said “no, not that alcohol during the encounter with the victim, he was not consciously aware of his that, based on kepner’s continuing assertions that he had no memory of the likewise, that kepner was likely experiencing a blackout during the blackout may be more disinhibited and therefore be acting with increased going to hurt you” and “you’ll like this,” and then instructed her to engage in oral the bathroom and locked the door behind her. about a half hour later, the victim from knowingly entering the victim’s dwelling without her permission or any right unlawful sexual contact (class c), 17-a m.r.s. § 255-a(1)(b) (2012), entered by jeffrey c. toothaker, esq., ellsworth, for appellant william kepner her consent. see state v. barrett, 408 a.2d 1273, 1276 (me. 1979). memory part of the brain is completely nonfunctional but the individual is able to gorman, j. panel: saufley, c.j., and alexander, silver, mead, gorman, and jabar, jj. 3 victim’s home and attacked her. the psychiatrist described a “blackout” as a about the defendant’s mental state at the time of the crime under several circumstances, including upon interviewed kepner and took a dna swab of his hands. subsequent processing july 22, 2011. impulsiveness and impaired judgment, he is nonetheless able to form a plan to do sex. at that point, the victim tried to escape by asking to go to the bathroom. 17-a m.r.s. § 401(1)(b)(4) (2012), aggravated criminal trespass (class c), concurrent terms of four years of imprisonment, with all but one year suspended, decision: 2013 me 90 conduct that was intentional and knowing. see state v. grant, 417 a.2d 987, 847 a.2d 413. the sole issue on appeal is whether kepner acted with the requisite experienced blackouts while under the influence of alcohol. he also stated that he period of amnesia, usually caused by alcohol or other substances, when the subconscious hostility toward the victim, and this subconscious motivation could kepner was sentenced to two 5 doubt every element of the offense charged. see state v. gallant, 2004 me 67, ¶ 2, state of maine window and, without her express or implied consent, touched and penetrated her ordered a mental evaluation pursuant to 15 m.r.s. § 101-d(2) (2012).1 [¶6] based on the trial evidence, the court found that kepner was likely on the briefs: her away from the exit and toward the bathroom when she attempted to escape. culpable state of mind when he entered the victim’s dwelling without her have impaired his sense of judgment, propriety, and consequences; however, this an activity and carry it out. he also stated that kepner might have had some sufficient for the court to rationally find beyond a reasonable doubt that kepner’s 2 judgment affirmed. kepner entered the home of his adult neighbor through a screened bedroom genitals with his hand. during the encounter, kepner told the victim “i’m not actions were taken knowingly and with intent. kepner was able to enter the placing the chair under a screened window, and then crawling through the window. [¶1] william e. kepner appeals from a judgment of conviction of maine supreme judicial court reporter of decisions unlocked the door and, finding kepner gone, fled her home and went to a insufficient to negate his conscious intent to commit a robbery). carletta m. bassano, district attorney, and mary n. kellett, asst. dist. [¶8] contrary to kepner’s assertions, that he may have been driven by a drugs and alcohol, kepner made a conscious choice to engage in a course of revealed the victim’s dna on kepner’s hands, and kepner was arrested on carrying out those steps, kepner’s acts were the result of his conscious choice. [¶7] we review the evidence in the light most favorable to the state to once inside, he was able to locate the victim in a dark room, subject her to sexual decided: october 31, 2013 a party’s blackout state did not negate his intent to commit physical acts). actions were intentional and knowing, even though he was under the influence of the court found that reasonable doubt existed as to whether kepner had the requisite intent to aggravated criminal trespass (class c), 17-a m.r.s. § 402-a(1)(a) (2012), and 7 acts and thus did not have the necessary knowing or intentional mental state permission and then subjected her to sexual contact without her consent. kepner self-induced intoxication is not a general defense, it may negate the existence of an asserts that, because he was motivated by his subconscious thoughts, was proving beyond a reasonable doubt that kepner’s intoxication did not prevent him act that violates the law exists, motive becomes immaterial.” id. experiencing a blackout during the events in question but that, given the nature and victim’s dwelling by carrying or dragging a chair over to the victim’s house, reasonable doubt that, even though he was under the influence of prescription commit a sexual act at the time he entered the victim’s dwelling and, consequently, found him not guilty for clerk reference only prescription drugs and alcohol and claimed that he was in a blackout state at the a court may order a defendant to be evaluated by the state forensic service to obtain information see mutual fire ins. co. v. hancock, 634 a.2d 1312, 1313 (me. 1993) (stating that the entry is: ii. discussion their respective encounters with kepner on the day in question, explaining that, 990-91 (me. 1980) (affirming that a defendant’s state of intoxication was 6 i. background guilty to all three charges. several months later, on kepner’s motion, the court _____________________________________ of the burglary charge. contact that included penetration, tell the victim “i’m not going to hurt you” and neighbor’s house to call the police. within an hour, a maine state police trooper [¶2] the following facts are undisputed. in the early hours of july 17, 2011, subconscious motive is immaterial to ascertaining whether he had a culpable state time the acts were committed, we affirm the judgment. this evidence was rationally regarded by the fact-finder as proof beyond a 17-a m.r.s. § 255-a(1)(b) (2012). kepner waived indictment and pleaded not determine whether the fact-finder rationally could have found beyond a reasonable the trial court (a. murray, j.) after a jury-waived trial. because the evidence was atty., prosecutorial district no. vii, ellsworth, for appellee state of maine docket: han-13-109 2 submitted way,” grasped her arm, and steered her toward the bathroom. she retreated into [¶10] in this instance, substantial evidence existed to show that kepner’s “you’ll like this” during the encounter, instruct her to engage in oral sex, and direct on briefs: september 26, 2013 perform purposeful activity. he testified that, although a person experiencing a


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