By The Associated Press
WEATHERFORD — A Texas man on Tuesday was found guilty of kidnapping his former neighbor, holding her captive and torturing her for nearly two weeks.
Jurors deliberated 50 minutes before reaching a verdict in the trial of Jeffrey Allan Maxwell, who was convicted of aggravated kidnapping and two counts of aggravated sexual assault after a Texas woman testified that he whipped her on a deer-skinning device and that she endured repeated assaults as she was held captive for 12 days.
Maxwell, 59, faces up to life in prison. Jurors will hear more evidence during the trial’s punishment phase, which is scheduled to start today.
The woman testified last week that Maxwell abducted her from her rural home at gunpoint March 1, 2011 after beating her in the face and shackling her hands and legs. Then he drove 100 miles away to his Corsicana house, 50 miles south of Dallas. She was rescued 12 days later when authorities went to question him about her disappearance after her house burned down.
She told jurors she bled profusely after one of the sexual assaults, which she said stopped after she’d been there a week because Maxwell got sick. At that point he then started leaving her unrestrained but only during the day when they were in the same room, she said.
The Associated Press generally does not identify victims of sexual assault.
The defense attorneys did not present evidence during the trial. But they repeatedly objected to jurors’ seeing evidence — including whips, sex toys, blood-stained sheets and underwear — saying authorities seized the items from Maxwell’s house before obtaining the proper search warrants. The judge overruled those objections. Several law enforcement officials testified that they went to Maxwell’s house March 12 with a search warrant for one of his cars, but they didn’t collect any items until they obtained a warrant to search his house and another vehicle.
State District Judge Trey Loftin also overruled defense attorneys’ objections to audio- and videotaped law enforcement interviews with Maxwell being played for jurors.
They claimed Maxwell had asked for an attorney at one point.
During several hours of questioning, Maxwell eventually gives details of the kidnapping and describes the sexual assault on the device, which he says he made for cleaning hogs and deer. He says he chained the woman to the bed every night but also let her read the Bible. He is heard telling the investigator that he never planned to kill her and thought of letting her go after her bruises healed.
“I got myself into something I couldn’t figure out how to get out of,” he tells the investigator.
He says he had sexual fantasies about bondage but never gives a reason for the abduction and assaults. At one point he blames his “stupidity” and another time tells investigators he doesn’t “know all the whys” when asked what could have led him — then the vice president of the Kiwanis Club in Corsicana — down this path. When later asked if he needs help, he says, “I imagine I do. Yes.”
Maxwell and the woman, now 63, were neighbors in a rural Parker County town about 70 miles west of Dallas before he moved seven years ago. The woman testified that she had been friendly toward him but told him to stay away after he started coming on too strong.