Man guilty of statutory rape and sodomy

Posted: 21st April 2011 by Doc in Uncategorized
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Twelve Polk County jurors found a Humansville man guilty of statutory sodomy in the first degree and statutory rape in the first degree.

The trial was the second one for Eddie W. Cook, 47. In a trial Jan. 19-20, a different set of jurors only agreed that they could not agree after four hours of deliberation. Associate Circuit Judge Kenneth F. Thompson of Webster County presided over both trials.

Jurors the second time around were presented with four additional witnesses called by Prosecutor Ken Ashlock and physical evidence introduced by the state.

The victim in the case, now 14, testified at both trials about her relationship with Cook, her mother’s fiancé at the time of the allegations — from July 28, 2008, to Aug. 26, 2009. She was 13 years old at the time.

“We would argue and disagree a lot about things,” the juvenile said. “We just seemed to always butt heads and never get along.”

That changed when Cook began engaging in sexual activity with her, the girl said.

“He would be a lot nicer. If I wanted to go see a friend, it would be a kind of, ‘I’ll let you go if you do this for me.’”

If she told Cook no when he approached her, he would get angry and ignore her, sometimes for several days.

“If I didn’t give in a while after his asking, he would just ignore me completely until I said yes,” she said.

Though she remembered discussing with her mom what to do if she was ever abused, Cook threatened her about telling anyone, the juvenile said.

“He told me that I don’t need to tell anyone, that I shouldn’t. He said that I’d be taken away from my family to a place with white walls no one knows so nobody could hear my screams.”

Cook testified that he served as a father figure and disciplinarian for the juvenile, but that his authority was undermined by the girl’s mother.

“She heard time and time again that I wasn’t her father and I didn’t have the right to discipline her, so she used that to her advantage,” Cook said.

He gave her a cell phone just as he gave all his children cell phones, Cook said. When he received an alert from the cell phone company about overusage on her line, he and the juvenile’s mother confronted her about it. It was then she revealed a sexual relationship with Justin Albright, 21, of Humansville, who pleaded guilty Feb. 18 to unclassified felony statutory rape in the first degree and was given five years supervised probation. Albright was 19 at the time.

The juvenile’s accusations against Cook came to light after police questioned Albright about his relationship with her, according to testimony by Humansville Police Chief Darrell Lean and Ronnie McNew, formerly a Humansville police officer.

During cross-examination of the juvenile, David Smith, Cook’s attorney, questioned the juvenile about her decision not to tell her mother of her relationship with Albright.

“It’s true, isn’t it, you were deceiving your mother and daddy and, in fact, everyone else when you were having this relationship with Justin?” Smith asked.

Smith also questioned her about some of the technical terms she used for sex during her testimony. She had learned them from Cook, she said.

“I might have learned them in health class, too,” she said.

With the testimony of Rachel Lovelace, a DNA criminalist for the Missouri State Highway Patrol Crime Lab, came the introduction of a towel as evidence. A stain consistent with semen was detected on the towel, Lovelace said. When compared to Cook’s DNA, the chance of the sample coming from another white male is 1 in 2.191 quadrillion. The chance of it coming from a black male is 1 in 89.69 quadrillion.

She found a mix of DNA from at least two people, Lovelace said, and found it was 499 billion times more likely a mixture from the juvenile and Cook than from the juvenile and someone else.

Smith urged the jury to remove emotion from the case and consider the evidence only. The juvenile’s use of the correct sexual terminology suggested she had been coached, he said.

The juvenile’s apparent ability to refuse to have sex with Cook was key in the case, Smith said.

“[She] doesn’t like it when she’s ignored,” he said.

He did not believe the juvenile had plotted against Cook, Smith said, only that she had answered “yes” and lost control of the situation when asked by authorities if she was having sex with Cook.

“When there was this moment of great pressure on her, she saw an easy way out,” Smith said.

The jury deliberated for about 40 minutes and returned with a guilty verdict on both charges. Thompson set Cook’s bond at $250,000.

The defendant was granted until May 10 to file a motion for a new trial. That motion hearing and sentencing are set for 1:30 p.m. Thursday, July 7, in Polk County Circuit Court.

Cook is currently serving a three-year prison sentence for probation violation on an original charge of possession of methamphetamine.

http://bolivarmonews.com/news/man-guilty-of-statutory-rape-and-sodomy/article_50201566-6ac7-11e0-ae87-001cc4c03286.html

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