Murderer gets 20 years in Lufkin sexual assault case

Rickie Griffin (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Rickie Griffin (Source: Angelina County Jail)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Editor's note: This story contains language of a sensitive sexual manner.

A Nacogdoches man on parole for murder pleaded guilty Wednesday to sexually assaulting a woman. The plea came during a non-jury trial and after a DNA forensics expert connected him to the crime.

Rickie Elwood Griffin, 42, accepted two 20-year prison sentences, which will be served concurrently.

He was arrested last November after a woman came to the Lufkin police department and reported she was sexually assaulted.

The woman said she was visiting a friend in Lufkin when Griffin stopped by the residence and started visiting with them.

About 15 minutes later the woman and Griffin left the residence in Griffin's vehicle with the woman's understanding they would be going to the store. While in the car, the woman said Griffin said, "I'm going to get some of that."

Griffin drove down Sayers Street and pulled into a driveway in the 1900 block and started hitting the woman in the face causing multiple injuries, the woman said. She tried to get out of the car, but Griffin was able to cut her off.

According to the report he forced her into the passenger side and raped her.

In 1988, Griffin was found guilty in a jury trial of murdering Carlton Fears in Nacogdoches County. He was sentenced to 30 years but released on probation in 1992.

Lufkin Police officer Lee Joel was the first witness the take the stand in Judge Paul White's court. He said he met the woman in the lobby of the police department on Nov. 3.

Joel said the woman came into the station with a friend. The woman brought the clothes she was wearing the day of the assault and they were placed into evidence, Joel said.

Wednesday morning, the alleged victim then took the stand and testified that she was at her friend's house and making her a birthday dinner.

That afternoon, she said Griffin came over around 2:30 p.m. and said Griffin stopped by after seeing her car in the driveway.

She said she has known Griffin for about five years. She was close to his uncle, who was murdered.

When he came over they had small talk then Griffin asked her to go to the store with him, she said.

Griffin convinced her to go with him when he brought up his uncle's murder, she said.

She broke down on the stand when Summa asked her to describe the events of the night.

When she got in the car Griffin backed out to go to the store and she noticed he was going in the opposite direction of the store, she said.

She asked where they he were going and he said, "I'm going to get me some of that," and pointed in between her legs, she said.

The woman said she said no, but thought he was just joking, Griffin then pulled over into a gravel driveway, turned off the car and began to hit her, she said.

She said she tried to fight him back but Griffin got out of the vehicle and opened the passenger door and she said his pants were down and he was pulling down his underwear.

She said she tried to get out but he forced her to give him oral sex.

She testified after that he pulled down her pants and raped her and said "I hope you have my black baby."

Griffin's mother listened to thewoman's testimony and calls her a liar, and claims the woman and her son had arelationship.

"This girl ain't nothing but a trampshe's a dope-fined, she hangs out with the black people this ain't the firstblack man that was going, my son was going with her and she hollered rape,"said Chatman.

After he was done, she said Griffin told her to clean up, talking about the blood on her face and her broken glasses that had fallen off.

The woman said Griffin took her back to her friend's residence. When she got  out of the car she  said Griffin asked her is he owed her any money or anything and she said no.

She said she waited a few days before going to the police because she knew him and his family and she was ashamed and she thought that Griffin was her friend. But after the incident she didn't want to go anywhere or do anything.

"She ain't scared she ain'tnervous she ain't nothing but putting on a front," said Chatman.

She said she went to the police station. After talking with Joel she spoke with two detectives, she said.

She said she took the detectives to the site where she was assaulted and her sunglasses were still there and they were taken for evidence.

The woman testified she used to use cocaine but went to rehab and wasn't on drugs the night of the incident.

Defense attorney Ed McFarland asked the woman if her former nickname was "Smoke-a-Lot." She said it was before she went to rehab in March of last year.

The woman says she could have passed a drug test that night but Griffin couldn't have. She smelled smoke in the car and says he brought beer into the house.

The woman testified she previously bought drugs from Griffin but hadn't in years.

McFarland asked the woman if she had ever had sex with Griffin prior to the alleged sexual assault and she said no.

"He was railroaded he didn't haveany other choice either take 20 years or else take life," said Chatman.

The woman says the last time she saw Griffin was at his uncle's wake in Nacogdoches.

The woman's friend took the stand. She testified that her husband and the woman were at her Third Street home preparing the woman's birthday dinner.

The friend told the woman Griffin must be here to see her because he never stops by otherwise. From what she could overhear of the conversation, she figured they were discussing Griffin's uncle, she said.

The friend said the alleged victim was gone with Griffin for about 30 minutes.

When they returned she noticed he didn't pull up on the driveway but let the woman out in the street. The friend says the woman ran up to her door and fell into her arms and was crying and the woman told her  what happened.

The friend said the alleged victim cried for two hours. The friend testified the alleged victim was scared to report the assault.

Forensic scientist Jenifer Watson wasthe last to take the stand, she ran DNA testing on the woman's undergarments. Hetests showed the DNA she found were a match to Griffin's.

After the state rested their case, Griffinopted to plead guilty and take a plea bargain to avoid a life sentence.

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