Conviction ends rape trial

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Marshall County Jury convicted a Lewisburg man on rape and other charges after a three-day trial that ended Friday.

In shackles, David C. Bates, 32, cursed the court system as he was taken back to the county jail where he awaits sentencing June 24.

Bates faces up to 25 years in prison for rape. Other charges include: Theft of the victim's Xanax, prescribed after shoulder surgery; Taking the pills to jail; Assault, and; Causing fear of bodily injury in the victim and her son.

Bates claims she was willing, but Assistant District Attorney Eddie Barnard showed jurors photos of a badly beaten victim. When first questioned, Bates denied being at the victim's house, Barnard said. That story changed when Bates was shown DNA evidence.

The victim knew Bates, the prosecutor told the jury in opening arguments. Even though she didn't want anything to do with him, Barnard said, she let him to use her clothes washer.

The night of the assaults, the victim's husband was in jail, Barnard said. Bates and others arrived at her house. At about 1:30 a.m. she asked them to leave. After preparing for bed in her bathroom, she saw Bates and a co-defendant seated on her bed with her medicine.

The co-defendant allegedly held a pillow over her face during the crime, court records state. Subsequently, Barnard said, she ran from the house. Police were called. An investigation began and she was taken to Marshall Medical Center.

Dr. Kenneth J. Phelps Jr., the medical examiner and the victim's primary care physician, testified she was badly beaten and "I believed her when she told me she was raped."

Court officers said the victim cried on the witness stand.

Bates testified on his own behalf and might have been described as confident after the jury began to deliberate.

The verdict came two hours and 10 minutes later.

One juror is the grandmother of five. The Lewisburg woman described deliberations on a condition that her name isn't used.

"It was tough," she said. "Sometimes it's hard to prove something that personal when you have one or the other to believe in... It's hard to believe somebody did something so heinous..."

She noted the number of people involved in the chain of events that Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

"I think all the jurors have kids and we can relate... They are so free now... People don't have respect for one another. We all base our lives on how we were brought up and behave accordingly.

"There were several people on the jury who had a hard time with it."

Asked if the victim put herself in a compromising position, the juror replied, "I don't know. I wasn't there, but from what we heard and what she told us, I think maybe she might not have had many friends of that nature. I don't know why she had so many over at her house, but things like that shouldn't happen."

The victim was "very believable," she said. As for Bates: "I believed some of what he said, too."

As for a claimed relationship before the crimes, the juror said, "I don't know that for a fact. [But] no is no... He said that they did. She said they didn't...

"My heart goes out to the kids.

"It's kind of sad," the juror concluded. "Today, it's a crazy world. People don't think before they do something. There's a reaction for every action."