Woman tells jury of 12-day ordeal

This article contains explicit descriptions of violence.

WEATHERFORD -- In graphic and horrific detail, a Parker County woman testified Wednesday about 12 days of torture last year at the hands of a former neighbor.

For almost four hours, the woman, 63, told jurors she was convinced that defendant Jeff Maxwell, 59, was going to kill her.

Smiling nervously on almost every statement, she said she was chained, shackled and gagged for days at his home and garage near Corsicana.

"I didn't want to ever get beat again," she testified as she fought back tears Wednesday. "I prayed every day."

Maxwell is charged with aggravated sexual assault and kidnapping. The maximum sentence is life in prison.

He grimaced at times as the woman talked.

She was on the witness stand for just 15 minutes when state District Judge Trey Loftin told the jury to leave the room. Then Loftin cautioned Maxwell not to make facial expressions or mumble while she was testifying.

"You can be out of the courtroom for the remainder of the trial if you continue," Loftin warned him. "Are you going to behave?"

Maxwell answered that he wanted to remain in the courtroom.

Meeting described

The woman said she is a former schoolteacher who had lived most of her life at her home near Perrin in Parker County. She told prosecutor Jeff Swain that she had never had sex.

She met Maxwell when he bought property nearby in 2000.

"He'd stop by and we had OK conversations," she testified. "One day he came by and said, 'Get dressed and let's go on a date.'"

She declined, she said.

Another time, Maxwell asked for a kiss as repayment for letting her borrow his tractor, but she said she refused to kiss him.

A second time, Maxwell drove up to her home and asked for a kiss, and she refused.

"I told him, 'Don't ever come to my house,'" she testified, recalling that it was in 2005. "'Never.'"

Then, out of the blue, Maxwell showed up at her home March 1 last year.

The two had a casual conversation, and then his demeanor changed.

"He had a bad look on his face," she said. "He then sprayed me in the face, in my eyes."

She testified that Maxwell grabbed her, dragged her to the back of her home, where she grasped a barbed-wire fence and held on "for dear life." The wire cut her fingers severely, she said.

But Maxwell pulled her off the fence, put handcuffs and shackles on her, took her inside and beat her with a rolling pin, saying, "I would have done this for nothing."

She testified: "I was terrified. He told me he had been paid by a woman to kill me for $2,500, a revenge."

The woman said that she broke free and ran out of the house but that Maxwell got into his car, tracked her down and shoved her inside.

Scenes of torture

On the drive to Corsicana, about 100 miles away, Maxwell asked her whether she was a virgin and mocked her crying in the back of the car, the woman testified. She said she tried unsuccessfully to escape.

"I was going to have to pray my way out of this," she testified.

When they arrived in Corsicana, Maxwell took her clothes off in the garage, placed her on a homemade metal deer rack and sexually tortured her, at times using a whip to beat her all over, she told jurors.

"It hurt a lot," she said.

The woman testified that Maxwell had an answer for her prayers.

"He said, 'By the time I'm through, you won't believe in God,'" she said.

For most of the following days except when he became ill, Maxwell forced her to have sex using sexual devices, she said. Most of the time that was in the mornings, she told jurors.

The woman said that whenever Maxwell was not home, he placed her in a wooden box she called "the coffin," or chained and shackled her to a bed frame.

At one point, Maxwell let her read a Bible, sometimes turning the pages for her, but near the end of her captivity she was allowed to handle the book, she told jurors.

Maxwell also had her sign a $500 check to him. That was the break authorities used to track her down.

By this time, she had suffered a concussion and a fractured arm.

The woman offered Maxwell money and her property.

"He said, 'I'm not interested in your property,'" she testified. "He even asked me if I would forgive him. I told him yes because I had to go to heaven."

Her prayers were answered March 12

"I was loose that day. He didn't chain me, but he told me to go to the bathroom when there was a knock on the door," she testified. "I looked through a venetian blind and saw a car with the word 'sheriff' on it and I ran to the door."

That's when she walked out of Maxwell's front door and told authorities, "I'm here."

Earlier Wednesday, prosecutors entered into evidence large buckets filled with items taken from Maxwell's property.

From the house, the items included a handgun, pillowcases, a sheet, the top of a mattress, two canisters of pepper spray, chains, locks, sex toys, handcuffs, leather straps and bloodstained panties.

From the garage and his vehicle came more weapons, a large wooden box, part of a fishing pole, bloodstained duct tape, panties and the metal deer rack.

The trial is scheduled to resume this morning. The woman is expected to continue testifying.

The Star-Telegram generally does not identify accusers in sexual assault cases.

Domingo Ramirez Jr.,


Twitter: @stcrime

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