Jury selected in Miller County rape trial

Miller County Courthouse

A jury was chosen Monday afternoon to determine the fate of a 23-year-old Texarkana, Ark., man accused of sexually assaulting a girl when he was a teen and she was a young child.

Costello Devonte Byrd was 14 and 15 years of age at the time he allegedly assaulted a distant female relative who was visiting his home. The girl reported in 2014 that she was sexually assaulted multiple times by Byrd in 2009 and 2010.

Byrd’s case was certified to proceed in adult criminal court and formal charges against him were filed in December 2014. Defense motions to move the case to juvenile court because of Byrd’s age at the time of the alleged offense were heard in both Miller County circuit court and by Arkansas appellate courts slowing the case’s progress toward a resolution. Other pretrial issues caused delays in the case also.

Four women and eight men were selected Monday afternoon to decide the case. Byrd is represented by Brent Miller and Joe Churchwell of Little Rock. Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Barrett and Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Kristian Robertson are prosecuting.

If convicted of rape, Byrd faces 10 to 40 years or life in prison.

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