DAY 3: Trial for second Finley jogger rape suspect - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Jury finds Bryant guilty of aggravated rape, robbery

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

The suspect on trial for raping a female jogger near Finley Stadium two years ago has been found guilty of aggravated rape and robbery.

Twenty-year-old Devontavious Bryant took the stand in his own defense, but the jury didn't buy his story. It took just one hour and 20 minutes to reach a verdict.

Bryant was initially calm when the verdict came down, but it didn't take long for him to unravel -- ripping off his tie and jacket in frustration before leaving the courtroom.

After three emotional days of testimony, the defense stuck with the theory that an unknown guy who was wearing the same outfit Bryant was wearing was the one who raped the victim.

"She was attacked. We're not questioning that. But she was not attacked by D," said Bryant's attorney, Joshua Weiss.

Although there wasn't any DNA evidence connecting Bryant to the crime, the state pointed out to the jury that the condom wrapper left at the scene was the same kind -- and even the same lot number -- as the one police found in Bryant's bedroom and the bedroom of co-defendant Deacon Williams.

Williams took a plea deal last week. He pleaded guilty to the lesser charges of rape and robbery and will serve 10 years in prison.

When Bryant took the witness stand Thursday, he told the jury he did not rape the victim -- even though the victim pointed him out in court on Wednesday as one of the suspects who attacked her. She also identified Bryant in a photo lineup a couple weeks after the rape took place.

Bryant claimed he went home after eating at City Cafe that morning. He maintained that, somehow, he returned the yellow jacket and wig he was wearing, the bike he was riding, and even the cell phone he was borrowing (which was found at the crime scene) to Deacon Williams all before the rape happened.

Prosecutors exposed holes in Bryant's story while he was on the witness stand.

"The person that raped her was wearing the wig and the yellow hoodie, right?" asked Asst. District Attorney Cameron Williams.

"Yes, sir," Bryant replied.

"You didn't have the wig, or the yellow hoodie, or the phone then, right?" said Williams.

"What do you mean I didn't have it?" replied Bryant.

The state told him his story didn't make sense. Bryant stuck to it. But it didn't pay off.

"It was inconsistent with the story he gave police, so it gave us an opportunity to show the differences in the story that he changed from testifying, as opposed to what he said to police two years ago," said District Attorney General Neal Pinkston.

Bryant is facing 15-25 years in prison for the rape charge and three to six years for the robbery charge. Judge Don Poole revoked Bryant's bond, and he will be sentenced in January. 


DAY 3 STORY: Devontavious Bryant is found guilty of aggravated rape and robbery. 

Earlier in the day, Bryant took the stand to testify in his defense.

Bryant said he and Deacon Williams, the other suspect in the Finley Stadium jogger rape case, had been drinking before they went to the City Cafe. There, they ate some french fries then departed, and Bryant says he gave the yellow Adidas jacket and wig back to Williams.


DAY 2 STORY: Wednesday marked the second day in the rape trial of 20-year old Devontavious Bryant, one of two suspects in the 2012 rape of a female jogger near Finley Stadium.

With the jury seated Tuesday morning, Wednesday's testimony began with evidence that was found at the scene, which included condom wrappers and underwear.

Investigators worked quickly to gather evidence and preserve any possible DNA and fingerprints, since it was raining that day.


DAY 1 STORY: The second suspect in the 2012 Finley Stadium jogger rape case, Devontavious Bryant, began his trial Tuesday after not taking a plea deal like his co-defendant, Deacon Williams did late last week.

The 20-year-old traded his red jumpsuit for khaki pants, a navy jacket and tie for the first day of his trial.

It took 3 hours to select a jury, before hearing opening statements, where it became obvious that a yellow Adidas jacket is going to be one of the key pieces of evidence in this case.

The victim told police a young black male with dreadlocks, wearing a yellow jacket was one of the suspects who raped her.

The other one she said was wearing a dark hoodie.

Police released surveillance photos, taken shortly before the rape occurred.

The then 16-year-old Deacon Williams and 18-year-old Bryant were identified through the pictures.

Williams wearing a dark hoodie and Bryant wearing the yellow jacket.

After the rape, the victim flagged down a man driving to work to help her call 911.


PREVIOUS STORY: By the time Deacon Williams gets out of prison, he will be 26-years-old, a registered sex offender and under community supervision for life.
The 18-year-old juvenile suspect in the Finley jogger rape case accepted a plea deal on Friday morning, just days before he was set to go to trial. Williams pleaded guilty to robbery and lesser charges of rape.

"You are found guilty of rape, sentenced to 10 years in the Department of Corrections," Judge Don Poole told the teen.

The 30-year-old female jogger told police two men attacked and raped her when she was running near Finley Stadium. It happened early one morning in October 2012.

Surveillance pictures at City Café that were taken about an hour before the rape took place helped identify Williams and Devontavious Bryant.

Just minutes before the 911 call came in, security cameras caught the two following the woman as she jogged past the Convention Center.

"Deacon denies being involved in the rape, but we certainly understand that the state does has proof and evidence," said Williams' public defender, Christian Coder.

Such evidence could have swayed a jury to convict the teen of aggravated rape, which carries up to a 25-year sentence.

The teen was originally charged with aggravated rape, aggravated robbery and aggravated assault. As part of the deal, the aggravated assault charge was dropped.

By pleading guilty to the lesser charge of rape, Williams will serve just 10 years, with the six-year robbery sentence to be served at the same time.

"These will go down as convictions, as judgments of guilt," Judge Poole reminded Williams before accepting his plea. "They will be on your record. They will be there forever, Mr. Williams."

Asst. District Attorney Cameron Williams said the victim knows about the plea deal and she agreed with it.

Although she said she was raped by two teens, she never could say for sure that Williams was one of them.

"That individual had the hoodie over his head, and had the hoodie cinched up, so all she saw was his eyes," said Cameron Williams.

However, he noted the victim did identify Bryant, whose face was not covered during the attack. There's no deal for the 20-year-old, whose trial is set to begin on Tuesday.

District Attorney General Neal Pinkston said the state does not plan on calling Deacon Williams as a witness in Bryant's trial, and there was no deal for him to testify against Bryant in exchange for a plea deal.

UPDATE:
Deacon Williams, the 18-year-old juvenile suspect in the Finley jogger rape case has accepted a plea deal.

Williams was charged with aggravated rape, aggravated robbery and aggravated assault, but pleads guilty to the lesser charges of rape and robbery.

Williams pleaded guilty to robbery and no contest to the rape charge. The aggravated assault charge was dismissed. He will serve 10 years in the Tennessee Department of Corrections and must serve 100% of his sentence.

Williams' rape charge carries a 10-year sentence; the robbery charge carries six years and will be served concurrently.

After Williams gets out of prison, he will be on community supervision for life and will be a lifetime registered sex offender.

Co-defendant Devontavious Bryant, 20, is set to stand trial on Tuesday.


PREVIOUS STORY: Two young men accused of raping a jogger were back in court Thursday.

The focus of the hearing was a video and audio recording taken right after the attack. In it, the victim is crying to a police officer, telling him over and over she was raped.

But the defense asked a judge to toss it, claiming the only purpose is inflaming a jury.

The woman was attacked while running near Finley Stadium one early October morning in 2012. The two suspects were teenagers when they were arrested. Deacon Williams is now 18 years old and Devontavious Bryant is 20.

They were identified by a surveillance picture taken less than two hours before the attack.

Channel 3 is not airing the woman's voice to protect the identity of the victim of a sexual assault.

The 47-minute video recording begins with her crying hysterically, telling an officer she was raped while jogging near Finley Stadium.

At the time, Williams and Bryant were 16 and 18 years old, respectively.

The woman told the officer she gave them her MP3 player after they approached her. She said she was then grabbed, held down, raped twice and left on the ground.

She flagged down a man driving to work, who called 911. An officer let her call her husband to tell him what happened.

"It's heart-wrenching to watch," said Bryant's attorney, Joshua Weiss. In a motion filed to exclude the video, he argued the recording is inflammatory and unfair.

Weiss asked the judge to give the jury a transcript of the recording, instead of letting them hear and see the woman crying in the back of a police car.

"It's not necessary in this case," Weiss said.

But Asst. District Attorney Cameron Williams argued the recording is indeed necessary.

"What you have is the statements and the condition of a victim of a rape just after being raped," Williams said.

Judge Don Poole said a transcript alone won't cut it.

"That's only to help the jury understand what was said," Poole said.

He ruled a jury will hear and see the recording when the case goes to trial.

"The audio video itself is in fact the evidence, and the jury can consider that and weigh it," said Poole.

Both men were set to stand trial together next week, but the state now wants to try them separately. The pair will be back in court Friday morning.

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