On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Union County, Indictment No. 07-04-293.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted October 12, 2011 --
Before Judges Messano and Yannotti.
Defendant John W. Oatman was tried before a jury and found guilty on two counts of first-degree aggravated sexual assault, in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2(a)(6). The trial court sentenced defendant to concurrent seventeen-year terms of incarceration, each with a period of parole ineligibility, as prescribed by the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2 (NERA). Defendant appeals from the judgment of conviction dated July 17, 2009.
At the trial of this matter, the State presented evidence which established that, in the early morning hours of November 4, 2006, defendant made a 911 call to the Roselle Police Department (RPD) and reported that there was an unconscious female in an apartment on East Fifth Avenue. Officer Juan Papica (Papica) of the RPD was dispatched to the residence. Defendant met Papica at the door and led him to a bedroom, where he observed a woman, later identified as M.S. According to Papica, M.S. did not have a pulse and was cold to the touch. Paramedics arrived on the scene. They attempted to revive M.S. but she was dead.
Other police officers arrived at M.S.'s residence. Defendant told them that M.S. said that she did not feel well and she began vomiting. He helped her go to the bedroom. M.S. passed out. Defendant said that he placed M.S. on the bed and he attempted to revive her with ice and cold water. According to defendant, M.S. was bleeding from the mouth.
Lieutenant Bradley Downing (Downing) went to the bedroom and asked defendant if he had moved M.S. after she collapsed. He said that he had not. Downing noticed blood stains on the sheets as well as blood stains on the box spring and bedframe. Downing also noticed two bloody towels in the bathroom, blood on the soap and soap dish, and diluted blood on the sink basin, shower curtain, bathtub and bathroom walls.
Defendant was taken to police headquarters, where he was informed of his Miranda rights.*fn1 Defendant signed a waiver of rights form and gave a statement to the police. Defendant said that he was married for thirteen years, but had an extramarital, sexual relationship with M.S. during the previous five years.
Defendant also stated that at around 8:30 p.m. on November 3, 2006, he arrived at M.S.'s residence in Roselle. Defendant admitted that he and M.S. began to drink beer and M.S. ingested crack cocaine. Defendant said that he did not try to have sex with M.S. because he knew that she did not want to. Sometime between 11:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m., M.S. said that she did not feel well and she vomited. According to defendant, M.S. began to walk to her bedroom when she suddenly passed out.
Dr. Carlos Fonseca (Fonseca) of the Morris County Medical Examiner's office, performed an autopsy on M.S.'s body on November 6, 2006. Fonseca testified that he observed multiple fresh bruises and swelling on the left side of her head and face. He explained that a fresh bruise is one inflicted within six hours of death. Fonseca said that the bruises on M.S.'s face and head were caused by some type of blunt force trauma.
Fonseca also observed fresh bruises on M.S.'s lower back area, over the right shoulder blade, and on both arms and hands. He said that these bruises also were caused by blunt force trauma. Fonseca observed fresh injuries in the area of M.S.'s perineum, which extends from the anus to the vagina. He said that there were fresh ...