Miller County jury acquits defendant in rape trial

Miller County Courthouse
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A Miller County jury acquitted a Horatio, Ark., man accused of raping a woman he gave a ride to from the Electric Cowboy nightclub last year.

Circuit Judge Kirk Johnson read the jury’s not guilty verdict Thursday afternoon. The jury deliberated a little more than an hour before finding Gary Lynn Bevis, 46, not guilty of rape.

Bevis testified during the trial that the woman asked him to give her a ride to friend’s trailer in Mandeville, Ark., after meeting her in the bar’s parking lot after closing time in the early morning of Nov. 1, 2015. Bevis said he got lost on the way to the trailer park and ended up at Mr. D’s nightclub. The alleged victim testified that she told Bevis he had made a wrong turn but that he said he could get them to their destination using back roads.

The woman testified she drank a beer, three Long Island ice tea drinks, and two rum shots the night of the alleged rape. The woman said she was also prescribed medication at the time which interacts with alcohol but hadn’t taken any that evening. Bevis testified he drank four beers.

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At Mr. D’s, the woman told James Dansby, who was working security, that she was uncomfortable with Bevis and asked Dansby to take her home to Queen City, Texas. Dansby said he could not take the woman home but gave her his phone number. The woman said she thought she had given Dansby her number.

After leaving Mr. D’s, Bevis and the woman found their way to the correct trailer but no answer came when they knocked, both testified. Bevis said he and the woman sat on the trailer’s steps kissing. The woman said she told Bevis she wasn’t ready for sex because she was still grieving the death of her boyfriend.

The woman testified Bevis made lewd statements to her before pulling his small truck into a secluded area off Mandeville Road in Texarkana, Ark. Bevis said he pulled over to use the bathroom and that the woman repeatedly asked him to hold her and initiated a sexual encounter with him.

Bevis said that as he was having sex with the woman she began yelling, screaming and accusing him of slapping and choking her. The woman said Bevis forcibly removed her clothing, beat, choked and raped her.

Bevis said the woman’s screaming and accusations led him to be afraid of her so he pushed her out of his truck and sped away. Bevis’ shirt and belt were found on the ground by police who found the woman on the side of the road.

The woman testified Dansby called her while Bevis was assaulting her and that she managed to answer her phone and let him know she was under attack. Dansby testified the woman called him and said she was being raped and beaten as he was driving home to Texarkana. Dansby said he spotted the truck he’d seen the woman and Bevis leave in earlier in the morning and followed it. Dansby said he contacted 911 and relayed Bevis’ location.

A nurse who examined the woman the day of the alleged assault said she found tearing in the woman’s vagina and rectum. The nurse testified that the woman had bruising to her leg, thigh, arm and face as well as a large bleeding cut above her eye.

Police stopped Bevis in Ashdown, Ark., and arrested him for drunk driving. Bevis is required to register as a sex offender because of a 1999 conviction for sexual abuse involving a girl under 14.

Bevis’ attorney, Kristian Young of Texarkana, argued that the alleged victim claimed rape because she regretted having sex with Bevis and that she probably injured herself in a state of intoxication. At the end of the trial, Johnson dismissed the rape charge against Bevis and he left the Miller County courthouse a free man.

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