Man acquitted of sexual assault by Bowie County jury

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A New Boston, Texas, man accused of sexually assaulting a woman in her bedroom last year was acquitted Wednesday by a Bowie County jury.

Bennie Joe “Hulk” Nelson, 38, pleaded guilty to the crime last month at a hearing before 5th District Judge Bill Miller as part of a plea bargain. Nelson’s proposed plea agreement would have required him to register as a sex offender and be supervised for a period of years under a term of felony probation.

The plea agreement was rejected by Miller and the case was set for trial. Miller did not provide a reason for rejecting the plea agreement in open court. Six men and six women were selected Tuesday to decide the case. After hearing a day of testimony and arguments, the jury acquitted Nelson.

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Chad Crowl of the Bowie County Public Defenders Office argued that the evidence of the case consisted only of the alleged victim’s account. Crowl described her as a drug abuser whose story, “doesn’t hold water.” Crowl and First Assistant Public Defender Will Williams also elicited testimony about the lack of physical evidence in the case.

The alleged victim testified she was sleeping when Nelson entered her bedroom at about 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 3, 2015. The woman’s father testified Nelson has a child with a cousin of the victim’s and that he was outside in his yard when Nelson stopped and asked if he could use the bathroom.

The woman said Nelson pulled his pants down, pulled her pajama pants down and sexually assaulted her with his fingers. The woman said she repeatedly told Nelson to stop but he continued anyway. The woman testified the assault stopped when her father knocked on the door. She said she told her father everything was okay because she was afraid of Nelson.

The alleged victim did not report the alleged assault to police until May 8. Her brother testified he encouraged her to go to the authorities after she confided in him the day she went to the New Boston Police Department.

Bowie County Assistant District Attorneys Lauren Richards and Kelley Crisp argued that the victim had no reason to fabricate a sexual assault account and pointed out that physical evidence was unlikely to exist in this case given the alleged victim’s account.

Crowl argued that the only way the jury could convict in the “he said/she said” case is if the jury believed the alleged victim.

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