LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - A rape suspect surprises an entire Lubbock courtroom and his own attorney Tuesday morning when he stood up and said "I'm guilty."
Joshua P. Stephenson of Idalou admitted, at the start of his trial, to raping an 87-year-old woman back in January. Both sides immediately moved into the punishment phase. Prosecutors called several witnesses to the stand and starting with the victim.
The victim told jurors that she woke up to a bright light in her face and had a hard time hearing what the man in her bedroom was saying because at night she removes her hearing aids.
The woman recalls asking the man "Why me? I'm an old lady." She told jurors after waiting a few minutes she went next door to her neighbors house to get help because the phone lines were pulled from the wall.
The victim's daughter-in-law took the stand and testified that she discovered that someone tried to use her mother-in-law's debit card a few hours before the assault. This pointed police to the bank where they released surveillance images to the media. Testimony revealed that detectives got eight CrimeLine tips and each person who called positively identified Joshua Stephenson as the man who was standing by the ATM.
Jurors heard from one of those tipsters who happened to be close friends with Stephenson's younger sister. The state introduced a series of text messages between Stephenson's sister and the witness talking about how it was her brother who police were looking for in the pictures they put out.
A Crime Lab technician told jurors that the DNA found on the victim's nightgown matched Stephenson's DNA. Some jurors, based on facial expressions, found it difficult to listen to the sexual assault nurse, who examined the 87-year-old, describe the injuries she suffered during the assault. She told the court the victim's injuries were some of the worst that she has seen in her five years working with sexual assault victims.
The victim, a widow with seven children, 16 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren, told jurors she was glad that it happened to her and not someone younger so she did not have to live with the memory as long.
Prosecutors moved forward Tuesday with essentially a scaled back version of the case they would have presented during the guilt or innocence phase of the case. The state rest its case around 4:30 p.m. The defense will pick up Wednesday afternoon with its side.
Stephenson faces anywhere from five years probation to life in prison.
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