State court rejects rape conviction appeal


A Pine Bluff man who pleaded guilty to rape last year failed to convince the Arkansas Court of Appeals that his conviction should be thrown out.

In a ruling Wednesday, the court affirmed the conviction and 15-year prison sentence of Gregory Croseford, 32, who entered a conditional plea of guilty on July 13, 2013, reserving his right to appeal.

Croseford was arrested after the mother of the 9-year-old victim contacted police Aug. 22, 2012, to report the incident, and during a court hearing, Pine Bluff District Judge John Kearney ruled probable cause existed to charge Croseford with rape.

In his appeal, Croseford said he invoked his right to remain silent when he was questioned by police and confessed to the crime, but Appeals Court Judge Rhonda Wood said the confession was voluntary.

After Croseford was arrested, he was interviewed by Detective Marcia Oliver, who read him his Miranda rights, and Croseford signed and initialed the form. When Oliver began questioning Croseford, she said he was apprehensive and unresponsive to her questions.

“Well, he would get quiet,” Oliver said during the trial. “Sometimes he would get quiet. Most of the time, he was denying it or he would just sit there and look at me.”

Oliver testified that Deputy Chief Kelvin Sergeant entered the room with another detective and after a few minutes, asked Oliver and the other detective to leave while he questioned Croseford, who confessed to the rape. That confession was recorded but police lost the recording.

According to Wood’s ruling, the key issue came during a suppression hearing before Circuit Judge Jodi Raines Dennis. At that hearing, Oliver was asked if Croseford agreed to talk to her.

“No, he didn’t — he didn’t want to talk to me because I was a female, so he said,” Oliver said during her testimony.

The Appeals Court ruling said there was no question that Croseford was advised of his rights before he began speaking, and no testimony that he was coerced or induced to confess, and under those circumstances, any statements made establishes an implied waiver of the right to remain silent.

Wood said that Croseford answered some of Oliver’s questions and never said he wanted to remain silent or that he didn’t want to talk to police.

“Had he made either of those simple, unambiguous statements, he would have invoked his right to cut off questioning,” Wood said.

Oliver also testified that after Croseford confessed to Sergeant, she went back and asked Croseford why he had a problem talking to her.

“He told me, ‘because you’re a female and I didn’t feel right talking to you,’” Oliver said in her testimony.

Sergeant also testified that Croseford told him he didn’t want to talk to Oliver because she was a female.

Croseford is serving his sentence at Calico Rock and will be eligible to apply for parole in July, 2023.