Dalzell man gets 18 years in rape case

BY ADRIENNE SARVIS
adrienne@theitem.com
Posted 1/25/18

Third Circuit Judge R. Ferrell Cothran Jr. sentenced Edward McElveen, 67 - charged with sexually assaulting his neighbor in February 2017 - to 18 years in prison after the defendant was found guilty of …

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Dalzell man gets 18 years in rape case

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Third Circuit Judge R. Ferrell Cothran Jr. sentenced Edward McElveen, 67 - charged with sexually assaulting his neighbor in February 2017 - to 18 years in prison after the defendant was found guilty of three charges on Wednesday evening.

After two-and-a-half days of trial and about an hour and a half of deliberating, the jury of six men and six women returned a guilty verdict for the charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping and possession of a weapon during a violent crime for the confinement and rape of a Dalzell woman who was 78 at the time on Feb. 21.

McElveen received two 18-year sentences, each, for criminal sexual conduct and kidnapping, and five years for possession of a weapon during a violent crime, all to be served concurrently.

The prosecution introduced four new witnesses: a SLED forensic scientist specializing in DNA analysis, a Sumter County Sheriff's Office investigator, a Palmetto Health Tuomey critical care nurse and a woman who was visiting her mother at Scenic Lake Mobile Home Park the night of the assault.

Semen and saliva samples taken from the victim were matched with a DNA swab taken from McElveen, according to the forensic scientist with SLED.

Sgt.Wayne DuBose with the sheriff's office said a .22-caliber handgun that can hold up to about five bullets was found in the defendant's possession when he was arrested on Feb. 22. There were two bullets in the gun just like the victim said, he testified.

Looking at photographs he took of the crime scenes, DuBose pointed to a roll of silver duct tape and clear packing tape - used to bind the victim's hands and cover her mouth - that were found on the coffee table in the victim's living room.

No fingerprints were found on either roll of tape, he said.

The prosecution and defense gave their closing arguments after all of the evidence was presented and all witnesses testified.

There has been reasonable doubt throughout the trial, said public defender Michael Routzong, lead defense attorney.

He referenced inconsistencies in the victim's story such as when she told investigators she did not bathe after the incident but told the critical care nurse that she did. The victim's statement about washing was recorded by the nurse in a sexual assault evidence collection kit report.

The victim was specific about the times certain actions took place but was inconsistent with other statements, he said.

Routzong said he wondered about the victim's intentions after the incident because she waited until the next morning to tell anyone what happened, changed her clothes and made the bed where she was assaulted. But she left the tape on her wrist, he said.

He said it was possible that the victim was worried that McElveen - her only significant other since she became a widow in 2014 - was leaving, had consensual intercourse with the defendant and regretted it the next morning.

Assistant Solicitor John Meadors' closing argument highlighted what he called the clear truths presented by the victim and the prosecution. This is a "she say and evidence say" case, he said.

It's clear the victim and defendant had a prior relationship, and it is clear that the defendant was angry because he thought the victim was having an affair during the relationship, he said.

Meadors showed the jury photos of the victim's wounds, describing what caused each injury. Those injuries are real, he said.

The victim did not give consent to any of the things done to her that night, he said. "And no means guilty in this case."

Why would the victim make up that story, have someone examine her body at the hospital and have people talk about her body in a public setting, Meadors asked.

There is no certain way a person will react after she has been raped, he said about the victim's hesitance to come forward.

At first, the victim did not want to tell what happened, Meadors said, perhaps because she still wanted to help McElveen because she knew he was leaving.

Though the relationship was over, the victim was still nice to the defendant and gave him food that night because that's the kind of person she is, he said.