LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - By Holley Nees - email
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The state's prosecuting attorney walked a jury through what authorities call a June 2009 kidnapping during opening arguments Monday morning.
Stephen Dewayne Wallace, 32, also known as "Caveman," is charged with aggravated kidnapping. Authorities say he is a high-ranking official in the Aryan Brotherhood, a notorious prison-based gang.
Wallace's younger sister, Meagan Wallace Parr said in an interview, "I hate the fact that he's in it, but there's nothing I can do about it...a lot of the trouble he's been in the past is because of it. It's stupid. It's a stupid gang."
Prosecuting Attorney Art Bauereiss walked the jury through the night, saying the victim was forced in a trunk and beaten. Bauereiss explained how the victim and Wallace were in a romantic relationship and how she didn't want to be in that relationship any longer which sparked the incident. He told the jury the victim was made to get in a trunk.
The alleged victim is expected to take the stand during the trial to describe the night she said she was beat at the cemetery.
KTRE has chosen not to reveal the name of the alleged victim in order to protect her identity.
Bauereiss closed opening arguments telling the jury he's confident they will return a guilty verdict to the charge of aggravated kidnapping.
Wallace's attorney, J.R. Smith, told the jury "We're going to go on a journey. It involves drugs, sex, drugs, jealousy, drugs, lies, and more drugs and more lies."
Smith said the evidence will show the alleged victim has known the defendant since she was 13 years old. He informed the jury methamphetamine was involved the night of the incident. He informed them that Christopher "Kidd" Guffey was recently convicted for his role in the incident.
He said the jury will see that Jennifer Holliday, who was a witness in the Guffey trial, was a major player on "why we're here today." Smith said the animosity between Rachel Tutt, who is also charged in the kidnapping, and the victim brought out the allegation by the victim that she was kidnapped because he claimed the victim is jealous of Tutt.
Smith said the alleged victim has contacted Wallace in the time since the arrests were made and she still has feelings for him.
Robin Franklin, an inmate in the Angelina County Jail, was the first witness to take the stand. She testified how Wallace told her "I'll be [darned] if she's just going to leave me with just a note," referring to a note the alleged victim left Wallace.
She also testified how she gave the alleged victim a ride to Holliday's house, where Guffey was, because the alleged victim was worried someone would get hurt if they did not go there.
Franklin said she heard Wallace tell Guffey over the phone to bring the victim to him. She said Wallace told Guffey, "take them out, take them all out," talking about the other people at Holliday's house.
Franklin told the jury the victim did not want to go with Guffey.
"She left him, she did not want to go back," Franklin said.
She said Wallace was "mad as hell. He was furious because she had left him."
Smith began questioning Franklin about her criminal history and her drug use. She said no one had promised her anything in return for her testimony. Franklin admitted to using methamphetamine the night she picked up the victim. She said to her knowledge, the victim had not written Wallace while he was incarcerated.
Holliday also took the stand Monday morning testifying that she was a friend of the alleged victim and had met Wallace when she had started dating him. She said Guffey and Gary Allen, another person charged with the crime, had come to her house the night of the alleged incident looking for the victim.
"There were two men that had stomped my door open," explained Holliday.
Holliday said Wallace called her mad, asking for the victim and didn't believe her when she said the alleged victim was not at her house.
Throughout Holliday's testimony, the defense made several objections sighting heresay and non-responsive. However, through questioning, Holliday explained how she had heard Rachel Tutt and Wallace both screaming over the phone. She said the victim was put in the backseat of the crown Victoria between two men.
"Her and the relationship with the defendant…was nothing but sick and deranged," Holliday said.
Holliday was questioned about her decision to wait a few hours before reporting the alleged incident to law enforcement.
"…I know what that whole group of people is capable of doing, so I take that stuff seriously," she said.
Bauereiss asked if she thought the victim was in any danger that night.
"Yes, she was scared," Holliday responded.
The defense asked Holliday if the victim voluntarily got in the Crown Victoria with Guffey. She said, "She didn't have a choice but to get in the car." Holliday was asked again if the victim was physically forced in the car and again she said the victim had no choice. The defense attorney focused on Holliday's delay in calling law enforcement, but she claimed she had been threatened that her house would be burned down with her son in it if she made the call.
Later the state questioned Holliday about what the victim looked like once she saw her after the alleged incident. Holliday said, "She had one on her head and several on her legs...she had several bruises on her face and her eye."
Holliday's roommate later took the stand and the attorneys had him describe the night Guffey came to the house searching for the alleged victim. He said when she arrived at the house, "She looked scared," but he said she didn't ask for help.
In an interview, Wallace's sister said, "He says he didn't do it, and I believe him."
Wallace's cousin, Chasity Wallace Reyes, said in an interview, "He's a good person, he made bad, bad, bad decisions in his life and drugs had a major role in it."
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