State rests in Bowie County child sex abuse trial


The state rested its case Wednesday afternoon in the trial of a Little Rock man accused of sexual misconduct with a 6-year-old Bowie County girl in 2013.

Strodney Deron Davis, 21, faces two to 20 years in prison if convicted of indecency with a child by sexual contact involving a relative who turned 10 in July and who was 6 in June 2013. The girl answered questions from Bowie County Assistant District Attorney Kate Carter.

“He called it the handshake,” the girl testified about a night in her family’s Wake Village, Texas,
home while Davis was visiting from June 23, 2013, to June 28, 2013.

The girl said Davis told her to keep the handshake a secret and that he engaged in sexual misconduct with her in a hotel bathroom in Little Rock, Ark., where Davis lives, during the same month. Bowie County First Assistant Public Defender questioned the girl about differences and inconsistencies in answers she gave during a forensic interview at the Children’s Advocacy Center in Texarkana in July 2013 and during her testimony.

While some details differed, the allegation concerning a handshake remained the same. The girl told forensic interviewer Melanie Halbrook in 2013 that she had gotten out of bed to get a tissue because her nose was bleeding. On the stand Wednesday, the girl said she was getting a tissue because her nose was stuffy.

Halbrook testified that the girl did not appear to have been coached when she met with her in 2013 and that the descriptions she gave of Davis’ alleged conduct seemed genuine.

The girl’s father testified that his daughter came to him in July 2013 and disclosed the alleged abuse. The father and his wife, the girl’s mother, went to Wake Village police immediately, they testified. Officer Christy Whisenhunt, who currently works for Texas A&M police, testified she was a Wake Village detective when the girl’s family reported the allegations against Davis. Whisenhunt said she arranged to interview Davis but he did not show for the July 22 meeting and did not reschedule. Whisenhunt agreed under questioning from Williams that Davis has the right not to answer questions.

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Kathy Lach testified the girl described sexual misconduct by Davis to her several days after her parents went to the authorities. Lach said the nature of the abuse alleged would have not left evidence, such as DNA, even if the girl had been examined within hours of such contact.

First Assistant District Attorney Michael Shepherd rested the case for the state Wednesday afternoon. Williams called four witnesses for the defense before 202nd District Judge Leon Pesek Jr. adjourned the trial for an evening recess.

The witnesses Williams called include Davis’ uncle, Davis’ brother, and two women who described themselves as close friends of Davis’ mother who have known him for substantial periods of his life. All of the defense witnesses described Davis as a well-mannered person who behaves appropriately around children.

The trial is expected to continue Thursday morning with more testimony from defense witnesses. Once both sides have closed their cases, the jury of four men and eight women will hear closing arguments before beginning deliberations.

If convicted, Davis faces two to 20 years in prison. He is currently free on a $40,000 bond.

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