Grand Prairie man accused of sex assault says he was victim of blackmail

Posted Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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There was a pause in the videotaped interview with Thomas Jefferson Smallwood Jr. when a a police detective told Smallwood they were going to test his alleged victim’s underwear for DNA.

Smallwood, 49, of Grand Prairie, is accused of using an alias to dupe the teen-aged daughter of his ex-girlfriend into sending him nude pictures of herself and then using the pictures to blackmail her into having sex with him. Smallwood is being tried on six counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and three counts of sexual assault of a child. If convicted, he faces a life prison sentence.

The teenager Smallwood allegedly blackmailed testified Tuesday that she and Smallwood began trading nude pictures with each other on Instagram while Smallwood used the alias Jay-lo. Smallwood continued to use the alias when he blackmailed her into having sex with him, she told the jury. Using the alias, Smallwood told the girl he would send the nude pictures to her mother, her friends, students at her high school and her neighbors if she refused to have sex with him and allow him to record it.

Eventually the teen discovered that Smallwood and Jay-lo were the same person, according to her testimony.

When Smallwood was arrested, he told Grand Prairie Police Detective Tim Paulson that he also was being blackmailed and that the video he sent to the person blackmailing him was not his ex-girlfriend’s daughter. Smallwood told police he gave $250 to a woman he met at a convenience store who was about the same height and body type as the teen and they recorded sex on the videotape.

Paulson said it would have been much easier for Smallwood to go to the police if he was being blackmailed rather than devise an elaborate scheme by finding someone else to stand in for the teen.

Paulson told the jury he did not buy Smallwood’s story.

“That’s what I did,” Smallwood told him during the taped interview. “I found someone who looked like her and I had a mask.”

During the taped interview played in court Wednesday, the detective told Smallwood that results from the teen’s medical examination showed that she had sex with someone and that the teen had kept underwear that police would test for DNA.

Smallwood was arrested in January after the teen told her mother’s best friend she was being sexually assaulted by her mother’s ex-boyfriend. Monica Stewart, the mother’s friend, testified Tuesday that the teen’s attitude had changed and that she had become “standoffish.”

Initially the teen did not want to talk, but Stewart told the jury she kept pushing.

“She went from being uneasy to crying and shaking,” Stewart said. “She was really scared. She kept telling me she was worried about her safety and her mother. She said she was threatened that something bad would happen to her brothers and something bad would happen to her.”

Mitch Mitchell, 817-390-7752 Twitter: @mitchmitchel3

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