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State Rests In Texas Torture Suspect’s Trial

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WEATHERFORD (AP) - DNA evidence from both a Texas man and the former neighbor he’s accused of abducting and raping was found on handcuffs and sheets in his home, a forensic scientist testified Tuesday at his trial before the state rested its case.

Jeffrey Allan Maxwell’s DNA was mixed with the woman’s on a few items, but many of the items seized from his house and tested — including a sex toy, gag, fishing pole and rope — contained only the woman’s DNA, said Uyen Henson, a forensic scientist with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

She was the final prosecution witness at the trial of Maxwell, 59, who is charged with aggravated kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault. He faces up to life in prison if convicted.

After the state rested its case and jurors left the courtroom, defense attorneys said they wanted Maxwell to be sworn in and make a statement. Maxwell told the judge he was choosing not to testify. When his attorneys asked if Maxwell wanted them to present any evidence, he answered, “no.”

Defense attorneys were expected to rest their case when jurors returned from lunch, and closing arguments were to start later Tuesday afternoon.

Last week, his ex-neighbor testified that Maxwell kidnapped her at gunpoint last March after beating her and shackling her hands and legs, then drove about 100 miles to his Corsicana home, 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 testified that Maxwell raped her after hoisting her in the air on a deer-skinning device when they first arrived at his home, and she remained in fear for her life the next 12 days. She said Maxwell once locked her in a wooden box when he left to run an errand. She told jurors she bled profusely after one of the sexual assaults, which she said stopped after about a week when he became ill. Then he left her unrestrained only when they were in the same room, she said.

Also last week, state District Judge Trey Loftin overruled defense attorneys’ objections to audio- and videotaped law enforcement interviews with Maxwell being played for jurors.

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 needed help, he said, “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.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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