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Sex assault trial of North Richland Hills tattoo artist opens

FORT WORTH -- A tattoo artist raped a then 20-year-old Dallas woman in February 2006 at a North Richland Hills tattoo shop then forced her to perform a sex act on him before he let her go, a prosecutor told a Tarrant County jury Tuesday morning.

Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney Kelly Loftus told the jury of six women and six men that DNA evidence indicated that semen was found in the room at Mild II Wild Tattoos & Body Piercing.

Her statements came on the first day of testimony in the sexual assault trial of Chapman Edward Swindell, 28, of Springtown.

“I’m confident that once you hear all the evidence that you are going to know that a sexual assault happened,” Loftus said in her opening statement.

But defense attorney Randy Bowers of Fort Worth argued that the sex was consensual.

“She went there with no money,” Bowers said in her opening statement. “It was sex for a tattoo.”

Bowers also noted that other people in the business did not hear any yelling or screaming and that the victim called her roommate’s boyfriend when she got out of the business instead of calling 911.

North Richland Hills investigators began an investigation on Feb. 28, 2006 when two Dallas women reported they were raped at the business.

Swindell is on trial on one sexual assault charge, the second one is pending.

The woman and her roommate, 22, told police that they had gone to the shop together and asked for a tattoo. They were led to separate, private rooms, where they say they were sexually assaulted, according to police reports.

The women left the business, drove a short distance away and then called police.

Swindell was arrested March 31, 2006 in Lake Worth at a Texas Department of Public Safety office where he was renewing his driver’s license, authorities said. He has remained free after posting $40,000 bail shortly after his arrest.

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