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Atkinson v. State

June 17, 2003

BARBARA CATHERINE ATKINSON, APPELLANT
v.
THE STATE OF TEXAS, APPELLEE



On Appeal from the Criminal District Court No. 2 Dallas County, Texas, Trial Court Cause No. F01-33776-HI

Before Justices Bridges, O'Neill, and FitzGerald

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Bridges

AFFIRMED

OPINION

Barbara Catherine Atkinson appeals her injury to a child conviction. The jury found appellant guilty and assessed punishment at life confinement. In four points of error, appellant argues the trial court erred in submitting a deadly weapon issue to the jury, sustaining the State's objection to certain expert testimony, and instructing the jury regarding the availability of good conduct time. Appellant also argues the charge on good conduct time is unconstitutional as applied to her. We affirm the trial court's judgment.

The record shows that, on June 11, 2001, Jeannie Rivers went to appellant's mobile home to use the telephone. Rivers was appellant's neighbor, and her children and appellant's children played together. Appellant was not home, but her husband, Kenneth Atkinson, let Rivers into the home and led her to a back room. Atkinson opened the bedroom door, moved a box or basket from in front of a closet door, removed some hanging clothes, and told Rivers he was going to show her "Barbie's secret." Atkinson opened the closet door and showed her the complainant, L.C.

Rivers described what she saw as follows: Okay. I feel guilty saying this. I feel bad saying it, but what I pictured was a monster, a little bitty monster. And it was horrible, and I feel bad that I say that, but she was so frail and without color. Her arms, they appeared to be no bigger than an inch wide to me. She was naked. She had a towel or a blanket that was real small wrapped around her, the back of her rear and her legs. And she was kind of sitting with her legs up to her chest, but she wasn't holding her legs. She was giving herself leverage, and I could tell she had nothing covering her. And her privates were showing, and she had one eye that was partially open. I believe it was her right eye. And then her left eye was completely closed with yellowish and green goo coming out of her eyes. And her hair was all matted to one side. And all I saw was dark shadows behind her, and she just looked up at me and didn't say a word. Rivers testified the closet smelled like feces and strong urine. Rivers asked Atkinson several questions about L.C. and began crying. Atkinson hugged Rivers, and Atkinson put the hanging clothes and the box back in front of the closet door. Some of the older children came in the house and asked why Rivers was crying. Rivers said she had been on the telephone ...


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