5:45 p.m. Update:
The state entered six pieces of evidence which the jury saw: a picture of the car the victim woke up in, a picture of the victim's bruised face, the picture of the blood stains on the victim's clothing while in Abilene, and the articles of clothing--his shirt, shorts and boxers which were later found. A video was also shown of the victim.
2 p.m. Update:
After recess, District Attorney began the questioning by having the victim recall the night in question, how he partied and drank with friends and went to Club Phoenix, also known as the Cafe, to continue drinking. He was dropped off, alone, and upon entering he stated that two Hispanic females warned him not to go inside because a group of people had a plan to beat him up.
As a result, he walked around outside the club and continued drinking with people he says he didn't know. He entered a red car with two people inside and following that event, he said he didn't remember much because he drank until he passed out.
The next thing the victim remembered was waking up on another street in a gold car, wearing nothing from his waist down.
11:35 a.m. Update:
The trial against Aubrey Phillip Childers continued this Tuesday morning, Nov. 8, 2011 at the Nolan County Courthouse. Childers stands on trial from an allegation and indictment of a male-on-male sexual assault that occurred on or around Aug. 15, 2010 around the southwest part of Sweetwater. Beginning at 9 a.m., defense attorney Paul Hanneman questioned the victim in the case, asking about his written statement and interview at the local police department until a 15 minute recess was held around 11 a.m. Questioning continues until the court breaks for lunch.
The trial against Aubrey Phillip Childers got underway late Monday afternoon, Nov. 7, 2011 at the Nolan County Courthouse. Childers stands on trial from an allegation and indictment of a male-on-male sexual assault that occurred on or around Aug. 15, 2010 around the southwest part of Sweetwater.
32nd Judicial District Court Judge Glen Harrison is presiding over the case, which began Monday morning with jury selection. The initial group was whittled down to the 12 jurors around 3:30 p.m. on Monday. Opening statements were given by both the prosecution and defense – District Attorney Ann Reed and attorney Paul Hanneman, respectively — and two witnesses called by the state testified before court.
Ms. Reed recapped the night in question during her opening statement, that the victim went to Club Phoenix, known as the Cafe, that evening intoxicated and still drank throughout the evening. Though advised not to go because of a fear for his safety, the victim went and performed a rap, using offensive racial language.
He was punched in the jaw, fell unconscious and woke up to find that he had been a victim of a male-on-male sexual assault. He was angry and wanted to take action, but after being convinced by a friend, he went to Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital in Sweetwater for treatment, where he was transferred to Hendrick Medical Center in Abilene where he received a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) exam.
The state noted that their witnesses — friends of the victim, medical witnesses who performed the exam and analyzed the data found, and law enforcement — along with different recounts of the night in question from the defendant would prove his guilt.
Mr. Hanneman, for the defense, opened by asking the jury to reserve their judgement on his client and painted the victim as a man who looks for trouble by using derogatory terms and dealing drugs. The defense stated that the victim consented to the incident, which gradually escalated over the course of the evening.
Not only did the victim consent, but according to the defense, he was also conscious and aware of what was going on. The victim's intoxication led to his actions that evening, and the defense's witnesses, which include DNA and blood experts, will conflict what is being presented by the state.
The first witness called by the state was Rene Williams. Ms. Williams, a high school classmate of the victim, went to The Cafe where she saw the victim, who appeared to be intoxicated as he was stumbling and staggering and later in the night was slurring his words. She testified that at that time she heard no offensive language from the victim.
Ms. Williams noted that the victim was unknown at the Cafe, thus believing he was in danger, and watched out for him in the early part of the evening because of their friendship. However, when asked by Assistant District Attorney Barrett Thomas to what extent she looked out for the victim, she said it was to the "best of [her] ability," though he was not her focus that evening.
She also testified that the victim was stopped from entering the Cafe by a woman and because of his intoxication, she felt he was in danger. The state later asked Ms. Williams what factors led her to believe the victim was intoxicated, which was concluded upon her own experiences of being intoxicated as well as employment training as a correction officer.
When questioned by the defense, Mr. Hanneman questioned the victim's intoxication. Ms. Williams stated that the victim's speech was still comprehensible as she talked to him and he didn't run or stumble into anything. She also noted that the victim was never forced to drink alcohol during the evening.
The defense also referred back to the victim being unable to enter the Cafe, in which Ms. Williams noted that she believed the woman who stopped the victim from entering would look out for him. At the time, Ms. Williams testified that she didn't see any altercations.
The final witness called for the day was Robert Carey, Jr., a bouncer at The Cafe. While he worked at many locations of the club, on the night in question he was working outside. He stated that he saw both the victim and defendant during the evening and later saw the victim rapping, using an offensive racial slur.
Mr. Carey testified that he asked the victim to stop using the word, in which he offered an insincere apology using the word. The witness did acknowledge that the victim's actions may have been a result of him being intoxicated, but when he used the word again, Mr. Carey punched the victim on the left side of his face.
The victim fell to the ground but later got up with the assistance of one person, and another person who helped the victim as he left the club as he tried to gather himself. Mr. Carey stated that he saw Mr. Childers at a car but was not talking to the victim, though he later saw them in a slight argument.
Later, ADA Thomas asked Mr. Carey if the victim was more drunk that evening than a racist as a result of the language he used. Mr. Thomas also questioned the fact of a double standard in rapping on how different races can use racial slurs. Mr. Carey agreed to both questions.
Mr. Hanneman, questioning for the defense, asked Mr. Carey if the victim was using the slang term that evening or the actual word in an attempt to decipher the language. However, Mr. Carey noted that the victim had used the racial word before while rapping and that the victim understood what he was doing. The witness also stated that because of the victim's action, several people at the club wanted to beat him up.
The defense also asked about the victim's demeanor before Mr. Carey hit him, asking about his speech, walking ability, and comprehension. The victim even tried going back into the Cafe after the altercation, but was stopped because of his racially offensive language and a belief that he would be beaten. It was also noted that Mr. Carey has never been charged with hitting the victim.
At that time, around 4:40 p.m. on Monday, court went into recess for the day. The trial will reconvene on Tuesday morning, Nov. 8, 2011 at 9 a.m. in the Nolan County Courthouse and continue throughout the day.