Presley guilty verdict returned

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A guilty verdict was returned after dark Thursday in the trial of a Lewisburg man accused of rape and aggravated kidnapping.

A jury of five men and seven women deliberated for nearly an hour before finding Owen Presley, 67, guilty on all eight counts of the indictment. Presley is to be sentenced on Dec. 7.

Presley did not testify, and no defense witnesses were called. Michael Collins and Bill Harold of the Public Defender's Office both contributed to closing arguments, as did Assistant District Attorneys Eddie Barnard and Holly Eubanks.

The prosecution's first witness was the victim, who described what Presley did to her once he had lured her to his home and forced her into a bedroom. Later her family members told the jury how she seemed "bewildered," "scared" and "like she'd seen a ghost" after Presley let her out the back door of his house an hour or so later.

The victim and her daughter both identified Presley in a photo lineup. Lewisburg Police Detectives David Henley, Scott Braden and James Johnson obtained a search warrant for the house at 644 2nd Avenue North and an arrest warrant for Presley. The detectives testified how Presley denied everything when they interviewed him at the jail. Later, when confronted with the possibility that DNA evidence could place the victim in his house, Presley said, "maybe she was," according to Braden's testimony.

The prosecution's last witness, Special Agent Jennifer Shipman of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, told the jury how she tested the blood stains on the victim's clothing and found them to be a match to Presley's DNA. Earlier testimony had established that Presley was bleeding from the head and hands when he went to the victim's home to persuade her to accompany him to his house nearby.