Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Eamon Scarbrough
Eastern New Mexico News 

Portales man found guilty of rape

 

September 20, 2017



PORTALES — A Portales man on Monday was found guilty of rape and faces up to 53 years in prison.

Jurors found Roy Brown, 29, guilty of two counts of criminal sexual penetration resulting in great bodily harm, plus aggravated battery and other charges.

Brown was arrested in June of 2016, accused of sexually assaulting a woman after forcibly entering her home south of Portales.

“I never had a doubt in my mind that this defendant sexually assaulted (the woman). It’s a good day for Portales, and it’s a good day for victims, and a good day for our victim,” said District Attorney Andrea Reeb.

Brown’s attorney Craig Acorn was not immediately available for comment after the verdict.

The jury decision came three hours after a morning of heated closing arguments.

Reeb asked jurors to use common sense and reason in deciding the outcome of the case, warning them to avoid “red herrings” presented them by the defense.

“It’s not the state submitting red herrings; it’s the defense submitting red herrings. All the things they said at opening, all the different things they said they were gonna show you, just to divert you off the fact of what happened to (the victim),” she said.

Reeb submitted to the jury that the state had proven Brown was guilty with DNA evidence found on Brown and the victim, as well as on Brown’s clothing and a liquor bottle he had purchased the night of the incident.

Reeb asked the jury to consider why the victim would fabricate a story of being sexually assaulted.

“What motive does (she) have to sit on the stand for seven hours and talk about this horrible experience that occurred? What motive does she have to go through a sexual assault exam, through a year and a half of counseling, to come to court all these times, to have to face the person that she’s accusing of doing this? What motive? There absolutely is no motive for her to make up this thing that occurred.”

Reeb also disputed claims by the defense that the victim’s identification of Brown was not sufficient.

“The identification really is neither here nor there to know it’s sufficient, because we have her DNA on the (defendant), and also on his underwear,” she said. “Everything corroborates, in this case, what (the victim) said actually occurred in this case. The defendant’s in his underwear right outside her door, minutes after this occurred.”

Acorn told the jury that in handling DNA evidence, the state forensics lab showed a disregard for established standards.

He showed a plastic tray with 96 wells, in which both Brown and the victim’s DNA samples were placed.

“All of (the victim’s) samples are put on this one tray, then all of the samples from Mr. Brown are put on the very same tray,” he said. “Not only do you not do that, because why would you do that? Why would you put, right next to each other, a sample that you got from the person that’s complaining right next to the sample that you got from the person who’s accused? There’s no reason to do that.”

Acorn said the cross-contamination of evidence was due to “economy and especially a cavalier attitude to the standards that you know you’re supposed to follow. We just don’t care that much about getting this right.”

Acorn argued that the sexual assault nurse that tested the victim and Brown didn’t take proper care of the evidence because she went from the hospital to the jail by herself, a practice not usually followed by Arise Sexual Assault Services.

“She told us that there’s seven or eight (sexual assault nurse examiners) at Arise, but they’re not gonna call on somebody else, because it’s not convenient. ‘We’re trying to be economical here, so we’re gonna compromise this evidence that we’re gathering on that basis. We’re gonna put Mr. Roy Brown at risk of being convicted when we know this is not proper.’”

He also called into question testimony by the victim, who he said “told a significantly different story at many times throughout the course of this investigation.”

He cited claims made by the victim about the bottle Brown used to attack her.

“At various points she said, ‘he struck me with that bottle.' At other times, she said, ‘He threatened me with that bottle.’ On the stand, she says, ‘He’s hitting me with that bottle through that pillow.’”

Acorn said the investigation was flawed from the beginning.

“The way this investigation was done, the way this prosecution has continued every step of the way, this is how an innocent man gets convicted — by relying on unreliable evidence. By asking you to count on people who are not telling you the truth,” he said. “When you look at what actually happened, compared to what people said, you can’t think that they were telling the truth.”

Reeb said sentencing will follow a 60-day diagnostic evaluation. Brown faces a minimum of 22 years in prison, but up to 53 years because of prior felony convictions, the prosecutor said.

 
 

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