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Appeals court affirms rape conviction

Appeals court affirms rape conviction

February 15th, 2019 by Lynn LaRowe in Texarkana News
Ulrick Hillman

The Arkansas Court of Appeals has affirmed a rape conviction and 10-year sentence imposed last year on a Texarkana man following a jury trial in Miller County.

Ulrick Hillman, 36, was found guilty last year of sexually assaulting a female acquaintance after climbing through a window into her bedroom in June 2016. The woman testified at trial that she knew Hillman because he was friends with the father of her children and that she had run into him at a nightclub on the night of June 2, 2016, while she was out socializing with a girlfriend.

The woman testified that she told Hillman not to come to her apartment. She said she was intoxicated when she got home to her Texarkana, Ark., apartment in the early hours of June 3, 2016. She testified she locked her doors, got undressed, climbed into bed and quickly fell asleep.

Loud banging on her front door and the sound of her doorbell ringing roused the woman from sleep but she testified that she did not get up. The woman told the jury that a few minutes later she heard the sound of a window creaking and was trying to make out what she was hearing when she felt a bounce on her bed.

The woman testified that it was Hillman and he was naked. Despite struggling against him, the 5-foot 2-inch, 128-pound victim was unable to thwart Hillman's attack. Experts from the Arkansas State Crime Lab testified that samples tested from vaginal swabs collected during a sexual assault examination hours after the assault included Hillman's DNA.

Hillman told detectives with the Texarkana, Ark., Police Department that he did not have sexual contact with the victim. Photos of a window screen that had been removed from the window and laid to the side were shown to the jury.

On appeal, Hillman argued that the evidence presented at trial was not sufficient to support a finding by the jury that Hillman used "forcible compulsion" to rape the victim, then 20. The higher court disagreed, noting the victim's testimony regarding the assault.

"I am very pleased that the COA upheld the Miller County jury's verdict and sentence. Mr. Hillman was convicted of rape and will remain in prison in accordance with the recommendation of the jury," Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Connie Mitchell said.

Mitchell led the prosecution of Hillman.

Hillman is being held in the Ouachita River Correctional Unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction. His parole eligibility date is April 22, 2025. Hillman must register as a sex offender upon his release from prison.

llarowe@texarkanagazette.com

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