Jury finds Nacogdoches man guilty in rape of SFA student

Steven Sledge mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.
Steven Sledge mug shot courtesy of Angelina County Jail.

BEAUMONT, TX (News Release) - The following article contains language of a sensitive nature.

By Morgan Thomas - email

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A Nacogdoches County jury has handed down a guilty verdict for a man accused of abducting an SFA student and sexually assaulting her.

The jury took about 30 minutes to reach the decision.

District Judge Campbell Cox will determine a sentencing on Oct. 28.

The victim of what authorities say was a kidnapping and sexual assault last December took the stand Tuesday morning.

Steven Gerard Sledge, 43, was accused of abducting an SFA student and raping her on a scenic overlook on State Highway 7 in Nacogdoches County.

The 19-year-old victim provided tearful and emotional testimony.

She said Sledge grabbed her at knife point around 5:30 a.m. as she walked from her truck back to her dorm. She had spent three hours in the truck talking to her husband in Korea.

He made her go back to her truck and slide over to the passenger side, she said.

She said he made her lay on her back with her head on his leg while he drove.

She told the jury that during the drive to overlook sledge unbuttoned his overalls and asked her to suck his nipples. He then made her take her clothes off and he began touching her private parts.

She said Sledge raped her four time in the truck. In between each time, she said Sledge talked about killing himself, then wanting her to kill him with the knife, but she said she could not do it. Then Sledge said he would kill her then himself, she said.

District Attorney Nicole LoStracco asked her why she would look down during testimony.

"It's embarrassing," she said. "I've never talked about sex with anyone. And to get that personal with strangers about a man I don't know, it's not right."

It was after the fourth time that a deputy knocked on the truck's window, she testified.

In earlier testimony, the victim's college roommate testified she roomed with the victim in Steen Hall during the fall semester of 2009.

She told the jury that they spent most of their time together.

She described the relationship between the victim and her military husband, saying the couple talked daily even after he shipped off to Korea. They often talked late at night because of the time difference.

The roommate was asked about the events leading up to and after the alleged kidnapping and rape of her former roommate.  She says they just watched television the evening before. She said she went to bed around 1 a.m. and when she woke up for church the next morning her roommate wasn't there.

The state rested just before 11 a.m.

Defense attorney John Tatum called only two witnesses to the stand over about 30 minutes.

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