|Judge questions alleged victim’s testimony, inconsistencies|
Friday, November 16, 2012
By KEN BRADLEY - Staff Writer
A Ferrum man was found not guilty Wednesday in Franklin County Circuit Court of rape, sodomy, abduction and attempted malicious wounding.
Andre Pierre Menefee, 53, was found not guilty of the charges after a trial that began at 9 a.m. and lasted into late afternoon.
After hearing a number of witnesses testify, including the alleged victim, Circuit Court Judge W.N. Alexander II found Menefee not guilty, indicating that his ruling boiled down to the the lack of credibility of the testimony by the alleged victim.
During the trial, Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Patrick Nix called several witnesses to testify, including a forensic nurse, two deputies and a witness to an incident at Dollar General in Ferrum, where the alleged victim said she escaped from Menefee who was holding her against her will.
Menefee's attorney, Will Davis, called two witnesses to the stand. One of the witnesses was an acquaintance of Menefee. Menefee also testified.
The alleged victim testified that Menefee had picked her up on Feb. 26 at a friend's residence, where she was staying. She said she went with Menefee to a friend's house where they smoked crack cocaine and drank beer.
The alleged victim said she and Menefee then went to Menefee's mobile home in Ferrum, where Menefee became violent and forced her to have sex throughout the evening and into the early morning hours of Feb. 27, beating her and threatening her with a hammer.
She said she accompanied Menefee to his parents' home on Feb. 27 while he loaded some scrap metal onto his truck. She then rode with Menefee to a scrap business on U.S. 220 South where Menefee sold the metal.
The alleged victim said she didn't try to escape from Menefee because she was afraid of what he would do.
Later that day, Menefee and the alleged victim made a stop at the Dairy Queen in Ferrum and another at Dollar General.
At Dollar General, she said Menefee got out of truck and went inside to get some sodas. She said she got out of the truck and tried to call a friend to come get her, but her cell phone was not working.
A witness at Dollar General testified that the alleged victim asked to use his cell phone, but he told her to go inside and use the store's phone.
At that time, the witness said Menefee came out of the store and got into his truck and started it. The witness said the alleged victim appeared to have fallen out of the truck and that he did not see Menefee grabbing her by the hand and trying to pull her back into the truck, as she claimed.
After the incident, the alleged victim went into the store and said she had been kidnapped and raped. The sheriff's office dispatched a deputy to the store and the alleged victim was taken to Carilion Franklin Memorial Hospital.
A forensic nurse testified that the alleged victim had a number of bruises and abrasions on her body. However, the nurse said she could not say when the bruises and abrasions occurred and that some of them could have occurred when the alleged victim fell out of the truck at Dollar General.
Under cross examination by Davis, the alleged victim admitted that she had a drug and alcohol problem.
Davis told the alleged victim she had numerous opportunities to escape from Menefee, including when they went to the scrap metal place, Dairy Queen and Dollar General where there were people around.
"Why didn't you?" Davis asked.
"I was afraid. I feared for my life," she responded.
Davis also showed the alleged victim a list of 35 cell phone calls and texts from her phone to Menefee in September, seven month after the alleged rape. One of the texts to Menefee said "I need you, I love you."
Another text said, "Baby I love you, I want you."
The alleged victim said she was drinking at the time she texted Menefee and didn't recall making some of the other texts or phone calls.
Menefee testified during the trial that the sex acts with the alleged victim were consensual and that the alleged victim had the bruises on her when he picked her up on Feb. 26.
Another witness for the defense testified that Menefee and the alleged victim came to his residence on Feb. 26. The witness said he saw bruises on the alleged victim and asked her what happened.
The witness said the alleged victim told him the bruises were inflicted by her "white boyfriend."