Warrington faces charges of first-degree rape, incest

By Joshua Logan Allen
ONL Staff Reporter

After several false starts, a preliminary hearing finally held last week resulted in one man being bound over for trial where he will face at least two charges for allegedly raping his teenage niece earlier this year. This was the fourth time the hearing was attempted.

The hearing was held in front of Okfuskee County Associate District Judge Maxey Reilly where the state presented witnesses who gave testimony to establish its case against Ed Warrington.

Assistant District Attorney Emily Mueller, prosecuting for the state, called to the stand the father of the teenager that was allegedly raped. He recalled the incident that he said he walked up on and interrupted as the act was in progress.

Warrington has been a brother-in-law of the father for 51 years, the witness testified.

The father said on May 12, 2018, his daughter, who was 17 at the time, left the house to ride four wheelers around his property, as well as Warrington’s property, which butts up against his land. This, he said, was not something out of the ordinary – for his daughter to ride around on both properties. He said Warrington had about 40 acres.

As the alleged victim was riding four wheelers, the father said he and his family always tracked each other using an iPhone application called “Find My Friends.” He said he checked his daughter’s icon on the screen and it had stopped moving. As he watched, he noticed her icon hadn’t moved for 15 or 20 minutes.

At that point, the witness said in worry for his daughter’s safety, possibly thinking she had wrecked or had some issue, he walked from his house out into the field to check on her. As he got on to Warrington’s property, he said he saw the defendant’s truck parked with his daughter’s four-wheeler close to it on the driver’s side.
As he approached he said, initially, he could not see his daughter. While he decreased the distance between himself and the truck, he said he could see his daughter’s legs inside the truck when he got about 40-50 yards away.

The father also testified to seeing Warrington with his pants undone.

From about that same distance, the father said he broke up what was going on, by basically yelling, “Hey … what is going on?”

At that point, according to testimony from the stand at the hearing, he said Warrington turned and seemed surprised to see the young girl’s father and immediately turned towards him, and, while buttoning his pants back up, began saying, “I didn’t do anything.”

The daughter, at that point, he testified, “kind of slid out of the truck” while also trying to slip her shorts back up to the normal wearing position.

She also began screaming, “No, daddy, it wasn’t me … it wasn’t me. I didn’t do anything,” the father testified.

The father said she then ran some distance towards her four wheeler, which her dad had already told her to get on and drive to him.

In the meantime, the father said Warrington started coming towards him, thus stating that gave him the fear that Warrington may do something to harm him – having the thought, he said, that the defendant, at that point, was a “desperate man.”

The father even said he was concerned that Warrington could have had a weapon and said he didn’t know if he had held his daughter at gun or knife point during the incident, what the father believed to be “rape” from the outset, according to his testimony.

Warrington, though, eventually and fairly quickly, got into his truck and left the area, he said.

Immediately after the incident, the father testified, his daughter was “still upset and scared,” going into what he called a “rage or psychological breakdown,” as he attempted to ascertain information from her about what was happening when he walked up.

He said his daughter eventually told him while she was riding four-wheelers, she came across Warrington in the field, who she knew as her uncle. The father said his daughter told him Warrington, at some point after she stopped her four-wheeler, asked her to “lay down in the truck.”

He testified his daughter told him she said “no multiple times” to Warrington during the incident.

Defense attorney Elliot Smith, representing Warrington, cross-examined the father with pointed questions at statements he’d made in his testimony, starting with asking, “When you walked up and saw him standing there with his pants undone, what did you think was going on?”

“I thought he was having sex with my daughter,” he replied from the stand.

“So you immediately thought it was rape that was happening,” Smith said, “and it couldn’t have possibly been with consent … she couldn’t have been acting on her own free will?”

The witness responded by saying he never thought it could have been consensual, later stating that his daughter had “limited interest in boys.”
Smith then asked in the 51 years he had been the brother-in-law to Warrington, had he ever known him to be violent, to which the witness said he had not.

“But you were scared he was going to attack you or kill you with a possible weapon,” Smith asked?

“I didn’t know what he was going to do,” the father said. “He was a desperate man at that time.”

Smith then asked what seemed to be a crucial, if not, in the very least, an extremely important question to Warrington’s defense.

“On your approach, before you yelled and broke what was going on up,” Smith said, “did you hear any screams for help or crying or anything like that (from your daughter)?”

“No, I did not,” the father replied.

Mueller took over for the state for redirect, asking the father if his daughter acted like a normal 17-year-old, her age at the time of the incident. She has since turned 18.

“No … she is developmentally disabled, so we get a wide range of behavior – from acting like a toddler to sometimes acting like maybe a 12 or 13-year-old,” he said. “When I saw what was happening, I was in shock. I was mortified … heartbroken.”

Mueller backed her case up by eventually establishing that the alleged victim is incapacitated due to her developmental, cognitive disabilities, which could mean, or, in the very least, implicates that she may not have been able to know what consent to sexual intercourse was or what the implications of sexual intercourse with Warrington would be. The state used this to add credence its first-degree rape charge against Warrington.

The state attempted to bolster this claim by calling to the witness stand Dr. Leslie Rundell, a licensed and practicing doctor of psychology since 2004. Rundell explained her special training in childhood developmental and cognitive studies before Judge Reilly accepted a motion to make the doctor an expert witness for the state.

Without revealing too much about this young girls medical information, Rundell did a full psychological evaluation of the alleged victim a few months after the incident. The doctor made it clear after extensive defense questioning that she did not do the evaluation as a result of the incident.

The doctor did testify, however, that the alleged victim met the criteria of “incapacitated,” according to the definition within the Oklahoma State Statutes. This came after denying to say the alleged victim was “incapacitated” to Warrington’s defense attorney during the cross-examination before.

Prior to giving affirmation to the prosecutor, Smith had already asked if when she evaluated the alleged victim if any of the statements she had made would deem her “incapacitated.”

The doctor responded by saying that would have been “outside the scope of my evaluation (at that time).”

She changed that during redirect, however, telling Mueller that she did, in fact, meet the criteria of “incapacitated” after the ADA read the definition from the book of statutes.

The alleged victim was adopted and had spent time in the foster system before getting with her adopted family, and Rundell testified to giving her multiple diagnoses based on a history of childhood neglect.

Rundell said her mental condition and diagnoses made her a “vulnerable individual,” stating from the stand that she was often “overly trusting” with little adherence to “boundaries” and “presents much less mature than a 17-year-old,” her age at the time of the evaluation.

And, while she may understand the biology of sexual intercourse, Rundell said, she did not believe that the young alleged victim could comprehend the implications or social outcomes of such an action.

Smith asked if the doctor was saying she was “incapacitated” because she was said to be mentally disabled, eventually bringing up the fact that she was able to operate, drive and navigate a four-wheeler all on her own. The doctor responded by saying developmental and mental disabilities fall into the first part of the statute defining the parameters of “incapacitated.”

A hinging point of the case, especially for the prosecution, seems to strongly be whether she meets the criteria of “incapacitated,” as testified to and deemed in retrospect by the expert witness, reportedly meaning it would be certain rape because the alleged victim would not have even been able to give actual consent, due to cognitive disabilities making those kinds of decisions outside her realm of understanding.

The defense argued that the alleged victim should take the stand to have the opportunity to be cross-examined, which Judge Reilly seemed to agree with, theoretically, but she did not end up taking the stand. Mueller did say, though, that the alleged victim was at the courthouse and available to testify but said she was not required.

Mueller then called a professional forensic interviewer, Jawanna Wheeler, who testified to interviewing the alleged victim about the incident shortly after it happened. The alleged victim had turned 18 by the time of that interview.

The prosecutor asked Wheeler if there were protocols she followed that helped to ensure that she was getting truthful answers to the questions she asked, which Wheeler affirmed. She said that the alleged victim’s responses to her questions were “spontaneous,” “consistent” and “seemed truthful,” though she did say she noticed her language to be delayed, citing examples of using words young children might use to describe certain body parts, instead of words an 18-year-old would use.

Wheeler said she at a few points cried in the interview, wiping tears from her face and also testified that the alleged victim told her during the interview that she was there because she was “raped by her uncle.”

During cross-examination, Smith pressed this point, clarifying first that the forensic interviewer had just testified that the alleged victim’s language was developmentally delayed, which Wheeler affirmed.

Smith asked, “So, with that information in mind, did you ever ask (the alleged victim) what she meant by using the word ‘raped?’
“No, sir,” she replied. “Not at that time.”

“Did you or do you know if anyone ever explained the consequences of lying about being raped,” Smith asked?
“I do not know,” she said. “I did not.”

The defense attorney then asked if she ever had a child lie because of being coached or being told what to say by parents, which she also affirmed, but said “being coached is an unlikely occurrence.”

With that, Smith asked if she did anything to verify – speaking with her parents or other people that know her – that the statements the alleged victim made during the interview were true.

“No,” she replied.

“So if (the alleged victim) did lie … if she told you something happened that didn’t, how would you know,” Smith inquired?

“I don’t know,” Wheeler replied. “A forensic interview is a neutral, fact-finding conversation. I collect the information and it is used in the investigation.”

Mueller countered by asking the witness if she had experience with children that lied during interviews or were coached, to which she responded in the positive to both questions.

“So you know what that looks like … for a child to be lying during the interview,” Mueller asked?
“Yes,” Wheeler replied.

“And was there anything about this interview with (the alleged victim) that led you to believe it was unreliable or untruthful,” the prosecutor inquired?
“No, I did not,” the witness replied.

After the thorough grilling of Wheeler was completed by both sides, Mueller then called Annette James to the stand. James is a forensic S.A.N.E. nurse, standing for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, who examined the alleged victim soon after the alleged rape took place.

James explained her examination process, starting with what she called “feeling the patient out … trying to get to know them a little before we start,” she said.
Following that, the nurse said, is a “full, head-to-toe body exam, at which time I document and diagram any and all injuries.”

During that exam, James said she found “little red dots,” what she called “petechiae” – looking almost like a rash of small red blood spots on the vagina.
James said that she concluded that the petechiae found would have most likely been caused by trauma of some sort, such as excessive pressure applied to that area.

In conclusion, the forensic nurse said her findings were consistent with a likely sexual assault, also concluding a penis “most likely penetrated her vagina.”

The defense asked little of James, but did inquire if the improper application of a tampon could cause the petechial blood spots found during the examination.
“That’s possible, but it’s not likely,” James said.

During final arguments, Allen said, in Warrington’s defense, that there was not proof an actual rape took place, stating, “(The state) has, if anything at all, an attempted rape at best.”

Mueller disagreed, leaning on the testimony of the alleged victim’s father, and leaning even more heavily on the testimony of the forensic nurse who did the examination shortly after the alleged rape. James’ testimony of her findings, Mueller explained, strongly indicated there was sexual penetration, “So it wasn’t just an attempted rape, it was rape.”

With that, Mueller suggested that Judge Reilly bind Warrington over for trial, suggesting the two new charges: (1) incest, considering the statute defining the act of incest does not exclude adopted family members, and (2) adultery, which, yes, is an official misdemeanor crime in the state of Oklahoma – suggested by Mueller because Warrington was married at the time of the alleged rape.

Reilly agreed with Mueller, aside from adding the adultery charge. She did bind him over for trial on charges of first-degree rape, instead of attempted rape, argued for by the defense, and incest. She did take into consideration that the defendant was married during the alleged rape, however, denied adding the adultery charge because she said no witnesses were called and no evidence was presented to make that argument during this particular preliminary hearing.

To conclude the hearing, which took right around four hours, ending around 5:30 p.m., Reilly set Warrington’s arraignment appearance, where he will likely be taken into custody and a bond set, in front of Okfuskee County District Judge Lawrence Parish December 5 at 9:30 a.m.

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