Rape trial begins

Published 11:00 pm Monday, January 14, 2013

Andre Ellis, wearing a green three-piece suit, walked into the courtroom quietly Monday morning after being escorted from the Pike County Jail. The two rape victims, who identified Ellis to police as their attacker, came in holding tight to each other.

Monday was the first day of the trial for Ellis who is accused of raping two Troy University students on March 26, 2012, just hours apart in Hunter’s Mountain Mobile Home Park in Troy.

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It was an emotional day of testimony with the District Attorney’s office calling to the witness stand the mothers of both women, the sister of one, and a friend and roommate of the other.

The first rape allegedly occurred when a man knocked on the door of a young woman’s home after 3 p.m. on March 26. She opened the door and he pushed his way in, Assistant District Attorney Scherryl Harrison reported during opening statements. Harrison said the intruder forced the woman into her bedroom where he sexually assaulted her.

The second rape happened between 7 and 7:30 p.m., according to the prosecution’s timeline. In that case, a man approached a young woman who had gone to her car. He dragged her down a terrace and sexually assaulted her, Harrison said.

Ellis was arrested April 25, 2012 after both women identified him through a police photo line-up, according to the prosecution.

The prosecution also called an AT&T wireless expert to the stand to discuss cell phone tower positioning. And a technology professional who works for Hunter’s Mountain also took the stand to explain the type of cameras the location uses and how they work. No phone records and no video were shown to the jury Monday.

The defense has not had an opportunity to call witnesses, yet, but attorney J. Taylor told the jury in his opening remarks that there are phone records and video evidence that show Ellis couldn’t have been the rapist.

Court dismissed about 4 p.m. Monday and will reconvene Tuesday morning.