District Court, Provo Department The Honorable Derek P.
Pullan Nos. 151401748 and 151402149
Adams, Attorney for Appellant
D. Reyes and Lindsey L. Wheeler, Attorneys for Appellee
David N. Mortensen authored this Opinion, in which Judges
Michele M. Christiansen Forster and Diana Hagen concurred.
Kelly Bruce Coombs was charged with two counts of child rape,
two counts of child sodomy, and eleven counts of sexual
exploitation of a minor for possession of child pornography.
In exchange for Coombs's guilty pleas to attempted child
rape, attempted child sodomy, and sexual exploitation of a
minor, the State dismissed the child rape and child sodomy
charges. Coombs was sentenced to two concurrent terms of
fifteen years to life. On appeal, Coombs argues that his
counsel performed deficiently by not arguing for the
application of an interests-of-justice proportionality
analysis at his sentencing. Coombs asserts that such an
analysis would have revealed his sentence to be arbitrary in
comparison with the seriousness of his crimes and the
sentences for other offenses in Utah. Coombs argues that the
sentencing court would have imposed a lighter sentence had it
come to this realization. We are unpersuaded and affirm the
sentence Coombs received.
Coombs was charged in two separate cases. One involved the
sexual abuse of his stepdaughter (Victim); the other
concerned his possession of child pornography. The two cases
were consolidated in the sentencing court and on appeal.
Abuse of Victim
Coombs repeatedly raped and sodomized Victim from the time
she was six years old until she turned nine. He committed
this abuse knowing that Victim had been sexually abused
previously by a different family member.
The abuse began when Victim lived with her mother, two
brothers, and Coombs. Victim stated that since she did not
have her "real dad," she and Coombs "decided
that [they] were going to do something as father and
daughter"-a "father/daughter day." While
Coombs and Victim were sitting on Coombs's bed, Victim
stated that Coombs showed her a picture on the Internet of a
girl "sucking a penis." Coombs suggested to Victim
that it was "one of the options" for the two of
them as a father and daughter activity. Victim testified that
Coombs then took off his clothes, made her remove her
clothes, and "touched" her vagina with his penis.
Victim also testified that on the following day, Coombs
"touched" her vagina with his penis a second time.
On another occasion, Victim stated that Coombs
"made" her go to his bedroom and "take off
[her] clothes." Coombs then "took off all his
clothes" and "made [her] suck his penis."
Coombs stopped his abuse of Victim for a brief time, but he
resumed when the family moved to a new home in a neighboring
town. Victim testified that Coombs's abuse started again
"like a switch had turned back on" after the move.
Victim stated that Coombs entered her bedroom one day while
her mother was working. While Victim was on her bed and her
clothes were off, Coombs's "penis touched [her]
vagina" for a third time.
Victim also said that, while she was sleeping, Coombs snuck
into her bedroom on numerous occasions in the new home,
pulled down her shorts and underwear, and took photographs of
her. When this intrusion caused her to wake, Victim recalled
seeing Coombs "running out of her room."
When Victim was nine years old, she disclosed to her
grandmother that Coombs was sexually abusing her.
Victim's grandmother reported the abuse to local police a
few days later.
of Child Pornography
While Coombs was being investigated for sexually abusing
Victim, an independent, parallel investigation into
Coombs's possession of child pornography was in progress.
Coombs had downloaded at least eleven images of prepubescent
females engaged in explicit sexual activity. These same
images were later located on Coombs's cell phone when it
was seized incident to his arrest for sexually abusing
Victim. Upon discovering that Coombs was in possession of
child pornography, law enforcement officers suspected he
might be involved in manufacturing pornography involving