from the Judgment of Sentence Entered September 21, 2018 In
the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County Criminal Division
at No(s): CP-22-CR-0004246-2017
BEFORE: GANTMAN, P.J.E., DUBOW, J., and STEVENS [*] , P.J.E.
Terry Lee Meredith appeals the judgment of sentence entered
by the Court of Common Pleas of Dauphin County after he was
convicted of Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (IDSI)
and Strangulation. Appellant argues that the trial court
erred in (1) finding a child witness competent to testify and
(2) refusing to grant a mistrial based on his father's
contact with one of the jurors. After careful review, we
was charged with IDSI, Strangulation, and False
in connection with the July 20, 2017 assault of Alicia Suarez
("the victim"). Before trial commenced, Appellant
indicated that he wished to proceed pro se. After
conducting a colloquy to assess Appellant's waiver of his
right to counsel, the trial court permitted Appellant to
represent himself and appointed standby counsel.
following factual background was developed at trial: At the
time of the instant offenses, the victim and Appellant were
romantically involved and lived together with the
victim's two children, twelve-year old C.W. and six-year
old M.S. The couple had dated in high school and had recently
reconnected through social media.
victim recalled that, in July 2017, Appellant had become
controlling and abusive. On July 20, 2017, Appellant
confronted the victim with allegations that she had appeared
in a pornography video. The victim claimed that Appellant
repeatedly slapped her with an open palm, choked her, kicked
her, verbally assaulted her, and threw her into the bedroom.
The victim feared Appellant had taken her firearm as he kept
reaching for his pocket.
Appellant entered the bedroom and found the victim lying on
her stomach. Appellant straddled the victim, pulled her pants
down, spit on his penis, forced his penis into her anus, and
ejaculated inside of her. Appellant continued to beat her up
and then told her to take a shower. The victim saw her
twelve-year-old son, C.W., watching as Appellant choked her.
next day, the victim told Appellant that she needed to go to
the hospital as she was spitting blood. Appellant agreed,
demanded that she tell hospital personnel that she fell down
the stairs, and called 9-1-1 to report that the victim fell
down the stairs. C.W. also told the police that the victim
fell down the stairs. When the victim was out of the home and
safely away from Appellant, she revealed to a female
paramedic that she had been beaten, strangled, and raped.
officers and attending medical personnel testified to various
physical signs that corroborated the victim's account
that she had been attacked and raped. Detective Ashley Baluh
noticed the victim was visibly upset and had abrasions on her
face, eye, lips, and thigh. In addition, Detective Baluh
noted a handprint-shaped bruise on the victim's leg that
looked like a "palm and fingertips." Notes of
Testimony (N.T.), 6/25/18 -6/28/18, at 145. Jodi Yocum, a
registered nurse, performed a sexual assault examination and
also discovered injuries to both of the victim's thighs
and two small tears in the victim's rectum. N.T. at
was found to be a competent witness and permitted to testify
at trial. C.W. indicated that at the time of the incident, he
lived with his mother, younger brother, and Appellant. C.W.
recalled that on that day, the victim and Appellant had a big
argument about a "porn video." N.T. at 293. C.W.
indicated that he saw Appellant choke the victim and put his
arms around the victim's neck. On cross-examination, the
defense presented the jury with a portion of the C.W.'s
videotaped interview at the Children's Resource
prosecution also presented two recorded phone calls that
Appellant made from prison, in one of which Appellant
admitted to choking the victim.
conclusion of trial, the jury convicted Appellant of IDSI and
Strangulation, but acquitted him of False Imprisonment. On
September 21, 2018, the trial court sentenced Appellant to an
aggregate term of 13 to 26 years' imprisonment followed
by three years of state supervised probation. Appellant ...