Testimony continues in Miller County rape trial

Miller County Courthouse

A Miller County jury is expected to hear the last of witnesses for the defense and closing arguments Thursday in the trial of a man accused of raping a woman he met at a Texarkana, Ark., nightclub last year.

Gary Lynn Bevis, 46, faces 10 to 40 years or life in prison if found guilty of raping a woman he met at the Electric Cowboy around closing time in the early morning hours Nov. 1, 2015. After the state rested Wednesday afternoon, Texarkana defense lawyer Kristian Young began calling witnesses to testify for the defense.

Circuit Judge Kirk Johnson released the jury late Wednesday evening after Young questioned Bevis. Thursday morning Bevis is scheduled to take the stand and answer questions from Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Connie Mitchell.

During his time on the stand Wednesday, Bevis denied he ever struck or choked the woman as she claims and testified that they had consensual sex. The woman testified Tuesday that Bevis physically and sexually assaulted her before leaving her naked and bleeding on the side of Mandeville Road in Texarkana, Ark.

Bevis claimed the woman initiated sex with him and then began accusing him of hitting and choking her during their encounter. Bevis said he eventually pushed the woman out of his truck, leaving his belt and shirt behind, because she was acting “crazy.”

Staff from the Arkansas State Crime Lab testified Wednesday that Bevis’ DNA was found along with the victim’s on vaginal and rectal samples collected during a sexual assault exam at a local hospital the day of the alleged rape. A nurse testified Tuesday that the woman had tearing in her vagina and anus as well as bruising and trauma, including a bleeding cut above her eye.

Both the woman and Bevis testified they stopped at Mr. D’s nightclub after being unable to find the home of friend where the woman intended to spend the night in a Mandeville trailer park. The club’s bouncer, James Dansby, testified the woman asked him for a ride home and said she was afraid of Bevis. Dansby testified on Tuesday that while he couldn’t give the woman a ride, he did give her his phone number. Dansby said the woman called him as he was driving home and claimed she had been raped. Dansby said he turned around and spotted the truck he’d seen Bevis driving earlier. Dansby called 911 and reported the truck’s location until it was stopped in Ashdown, Ark., and Bevis was arrested for drunk driving.

In a video interview of Bevis with Texarkana, Ark., Detective Paul Nall, Bevis admits he is required to register as a sex offender because of a conviction involving a minor female in 1999 for which he served a four-year term of probation. Bevis testified that the girl, an ex-wife’s daughter from a prior relationship, was angry when she made the allegations and that he and her mother were divorcing at the time.

The alleged victim testified Tuesday that she drank beer, shots and mixed drinks the evening she claims Bevis sexually attacked her. The woman said she told Bevis she was still grieving over a boyfriend who died in a motorcycle crash and wasn’t ready for sex the night Bevis attacked her.

A verdict could come Thursday.

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