Retired officer’s rape trial comes to an end

Published 10:41 pm Thursday, April 17, 2014

Attorneys presented closing arguments Thursday in the trial of a retired police officer accused of raping a child.
Willie Toney is charged with one count of rape first degree and two counts each of sodomy first degree and enticing a child to enter a vehicle, house, etc. for immoral purposes in conjunction with a pair of incidents that took place in early 2008. He was formally charged in August 2012.
The defense presented most of its witnesses Thursday, before resting the case shortly before 4 p.m. The list included former Mayor Jimmy Lunsford and current Troy Police Chief Jimmy Ennis.
Ennis was one of the investigators called upon by then-Chief of Police Anthony Everage to conduct an internal investigation in 2009.
“We included in our investigation that it could not have happened the way it as described on tapes,” Ennis said. “I don’t believe Mr. Toney did it.”
He did say he believed someone had sexually abused the victim. When the prosecution asked why Troy PD had not investigated the crime to find the guilty party, Ennis said it was not Troy’s case. The Alabama Bureau of Investigations was investigating the matter.
Stephanie Billingslea, assistant Attorney General, started the prosecution’s closing arguments by sharing a first-person narrative that summed up what the victim had said since coming forward, including the detailed account of the crimes. Except for some minor details, [the victim’s] story has been consistent for six years, the prosecutor said.
The closing listed what the prosecution had to prove in order to convict Willie Toney of rape first degree: he had to be over the age of 16 and had to engage in a sexual act with someone under age 12. Billingslea called the Troy Police Department a “band of brothers who went through great lengths to protect their brother. That’s not the purpose of an internal investigation. What the Troy Police Department did is a travesty. It’s disgraceful.”
The defense argued that one of the medical exams used as evidence was done in August, 2008, more than five months after the crime. Another issue taken with the state’s case was its unwillingness to turn over a jacket the victim had worn the day of one of the alleged rapes.
The defense then listed what it described as the lies the victim told during interviews conducted by the Child Advocacy Center. “You have to decide who is credible,” said defense attorney Lewis Gillis.
Gillis told the jury that if there were any doubt in their minds, they would have to return a verdict of not guilty.
Arguments lasted past 7 p.m. and the jury opted to start deliberating Thursday night rather than wait until after the holiday weekend.

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