A. Teas appeals his conviction for first degree rape by
forcible compulsion, arguing that (1) the prosecutor engaged
in numerous instances of misconduct, (2) the trial court
abused its discretion in refusing to give his requested
consent instruction, and (3) his sentence under
Washington's Persistent Offender Accountability Act
(POAA) constitutes cruel punishment under article I, section
14 of the Washington Constitution. We disagree and affirm.
Rape and Investigation
R.C. posted an advertisement
offering massage services under the "Escorts"
category of an online forum. 3 Verbatim Report of Proceedings
(VRP) (Sept. 12, 2017) at 287. Teas, who was 39 years old at
the time, responded to the advertisement and arranged for
R.C. to give him a massage at R.C.'s apartment. When Teas
arrived at R.C.'s apartment, she led him into her bedroom
and closed the door behind them. R.C. bent over to place her
cellphone on the bedside table, at which point, Teas jumped
on her back, held a pocketknife blade to her throat, and said
he was going to rape her.
told Teas that she would "do whatever he wanted" if
he put the blade away. 3 VRP (Sept. 12, 2017) at 297. Teas
put the blade away and had sexual intercourse with R.C. for a
couple of minutes. Teas had difficulty maintaining an
erection, so R.C. suggested that she get lubricant to help.
Teas agreed, and R.C. walked toward the bedroom door. Teas
intercepted R.C. at the bedroom door and instructed her not
to leave the bedroom. R.C. struggled with Teas at the door,
pushed the door open, and ran screaming toward her
roommate's bedroom. R.C. hid in her roommate's
bedroom until R.C. looked out the window and saw Teas exiting
the front of her apartment building. R.C. contacted law
left his knife and hat in R.C.'s bedroom. The knife
handle later tested positive for both R.C.'s and
Teas's deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) profiles. A sample
swab of the hat also matched Teas's DNA profile. And
samples taken from stains found on R.C.'s bedsheets
matched Teas's DNA profile. The samples taken from
R.C.'s bedsheets tested negative for the presence of
blood. Law enforcement later detained Teas, and he claimed
that he was nowhere near R.C.'s apartment but was only in
the area visiting a friend.
Relevant Portions of Trial
State charged Teas with one count of first degree rape by
forcible compulsion. At trial, R.C., law enforcement,
including Deputy Richard Osborne of the Clark County
Sheriff's Office, and a forensic scientist with the
Washington State crime laboratory testified to the facts
testified that after Teas put his knife away, he asked her to
kiss him and perform oral sex on him. R.C. said no to both
requests. On cross-examination, R.C. admitted that she was
not a licensed massage therapist.
sexual assault examination nurse who examined R.C. testified
that R.C. told her the same facts detailed above, except R.C.
told her that Teas suggested the lubricant, not R.C.
also testified and denied having sexual intercourse with R.C.
According to Teas, he only expected to receive a "happy
ending" massage from R.C. 5 VRP (Sept. 13, 2017) at 673.
Teas stated that R.C. had asked him to take off his pants,
and that he pulled them down to his mid-thigh. R.C. then
"proceeded to take off her pants that she was
wearing." 5 VRP (Sept. 13, 2017) at 657. Teas asked R.C.
if she would kiss him or perform oral sex on him. R.C. said
no to both requests. Teas "was trying-having some
problems trying to become erect and she had said, 'Well,
we need to have a condom on because I am not on any birth
control.'" 5 VRP (Sept. 13, 2017) at 658. R.C. then
gave Teas a condom that she had stored in the desk next to
her bed. Teas still had difficulty maintaining an erection,
and R.C. "proceeded to ask if she could get some lube,
hence, ask for a penis pump to help [him] become erect
because [he] was having trouble with it." 5 VRP (Sept.
13, 2017) at 658. At this point, he reached into his pocket
to give R.C. money and accidentally displayed the knife he
had kept in his pocket. R.C. ran away screaming at the sight
of the knife, and Teas quickly left the apartment.
cross-examination, Teas repeatedly denied that he expected to
receive any service other than a massage from R.C. He also
claimed that the two never had sexual intercourse because he
was unable to maintain an erection.
Request for Consent Instruction
close of evidence, Teas proposed a jury instruction on
consent. The trial court found that the evidence at trial did
not support the instruction because Teas claimed that sexual
intercourse never occurred, not that it was consensual and
denied Teas's request to include a consent instruction.
Opening Statement and Closing Argument
opening statement, the prosecutor stated, "The DNA from
the blood stain on [R.C.]'s bed matched the
defendant's DNA." 2 VRP (Sept. 11, 2017) at 196. In
closing, the State argued that R.C.'s version of what
happened between her and Teas had "been consistent from
the very beginning" in what she told police, the sexual
assault examination nurse, and defense counsel. 6 VRP (Sept.
14, 2017) at 724. And the State argued that the jury could
conclude from this consistency that R.C. did not fabricate
the details of what happened.
in discussing Teas's knife, the prosecutor argued:
Now, it is not a gun. It's not a firearm. It's not a
pistol, a revolver, because those are, per se, deadly
weapons. Okay? But the manner in which this instrument, this
implement was used, with either blade, and the proximity to a
person's neck, constitutes a deadly weapon.
And we know that something like this has been used in the
past. Okay? I'm not saying-what I'm about to say, and
I will preface this by saying this is not a terrorist act.
This is not even close to 9/11. Okay? But we all know what
was reported about the people who meant to harm on-on those
planes that crashed into the-the twin towers. What did they
have? Box cutters.
This, ladies and gentleman, with this blade exposed, the
manner in which it was used, is a deadly weapon.
6 VRP (Sept. 14, 2017) at 735-36.
State also argued that all of the DNA evidenced placed Teas
in R.C.'s bedroom. The State then argued that Teas's
testimony "defie[d] logic" and "ma[de] no
sense" because Teas told the police he was nowhere near
R.C.'s apartment. 6 VRP (Sept. 14, 2017) at 733.
So that's another reason why, ladies and gentlemen, the
defendant decided to testify. He saw the overwhelming
evidence against him. Couldn't deny the DNA. Could not
deny the DNA.
. . . Again, the estimated probability of selecting an
unrelated individual at random in the U.S. population with a
matching profile is 1 in 130 quintillion. These are things
that the defendant cannot dispute, cannot rebut. And so
that's why he got on the stand yesterday and came-came up
with a story to try and explain away what happened. And he
wrapped up some of the things that have been proved to be
true. For example, his presence there, because he can't
deny that he wasn't there because he was. But he had to
explain why and how and then deny that he was able to engage
in sexual intercourse.
6 VRP (Sept. 14, 2017) at 747-48.
did not object to any portion of the State's closing
argument. The jury found Teas guilty as charged.
had a prior conviction for first degree child molestation.
The record shows that this crime was committed sometime
between July 1994 and September 1996, when Teas was between
the ages of 17 and 19. Based on his prior conviction of first
degree child molestation, the court sentenced Teas to life in
prison without the possibility of release under
Washington's Persistent Offender Accountability Act