Accused rapist takes the stand to defend himself

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, January 16, 2013

When accused rapist Andre Ellis testified Wednesday, he emphatically told jurors that he did not rape two women on March 26, 2012 at Hunter’s Mountain Mobile Home Park.

Wednesday marked the third day of testimony in Ellis’ trial and was also the day defense attorney J. Carlton Taylor began calling witnesses.

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Ellis told jurors he spent his day trying to prepare his new business, Good Deeds Auto, for opening. He said he visited the Pike County Courthouse, Troy City Hall, met with the owner of the property he was leasing, visited a nearby business to return a car washing mitt, met a utility worker at his business site and finished the day washing cars with his girlfriend’s brother.

A city worker confirmed Ellis’ visit to get utilities turned on at Good Deeds Auto.

However, the timeline of the day, as presented by other witnesses called, didn’t quite match up, the prosecuting attorney said.

The defense called Ellis’ girlfriend, her brother and a local business owner to speak about the events of March 26. Their testimony showed gaps, sometimes of several hours, and varying events, according to information presented during cross-examination by the District Attorney’s Office.

Another issue raised was that earlier statements by Ellis to police officers noted Ellis was home between 6 and 7:30 that night. That time would put him at the location at the time of one of the rapes. However Ellis and witnesses now say it was just before 10 when he returned home for the day.

Initially, the prosecution reported, Ellis told police he was alone. Now, both he and the other witnesses are saying Ellis was with his girlfriend’s brother from afternoon until late in the evening on the day of the crimes.

Both the prosecution and defense utilized surveillance video from Hunter’s Mountain to try and determine if Ellis was alone in his black Nissan Titan and where he traveled to and from within the mobile home park on March 26. Ellis said he could make out his girlfriend’s brother in the passenger seat. No one else could confirm they saw anything.

While both women have identified Ellis, separately in a photo line-up and then in court, as their attacker, there is no physical evidence linking him to the crime scenes.

Prosecutors believe phone record and video evidence they presented in previous days of the trial place Ellis in the mobile home park at the time of both crimes.

Court has adjourned until Friday morning when attorneys will present closing arguments and the jury will begin deliberation.