Authorities testify in 96-year-old rape trial

Reported by Lynda Figueredo - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Tuesday a 96-year-old woman took the stand to testify against a man accused of raping and attacking her.  Wednesday, the jury heard from an SBI forensic serologist and the victim's ophthalmologist.

42-year-old Brian Anthony Reavis is on trial facing charges of rape, kidnapping, and common-law robbery for attacking a woman, who was 95 at the time, in April 2008.

Tuesday the victim told the jury she was getting her morning newspaper when a man approached, helped her open the door and then demanded she give him money.  The woman said she gave him all the money out of her wallet, but it didn't suffice.  The man threw her on the bed and violently beat and raped her.

The woman endured significant facial trauma during the attack and suffered a broken nose and a ruptured right eye.  She had received a cornea transplant two years before, but will not be able to see as a result of the damage.

According to Ophthalmologist Dr. Byron Stratas, tissue was oozing from her eye socket after the attack.  He explained to the jury that when an eye losses normal pressure, particularly to zero, the blood vessel under the retina will rupture.

Dr. Stratas operated on the woman and said he was able to put the eye back together, but the victim no longer has vision in her right eye.

According to SBI forensic serologist Russell Holley, all the evidence authorities needed were found on the victim's body.  He told the jury four swabs were taken from inside and outside her body were sent to a DNA lab just days after the incident.

The DNA was uploaded to the Codus system, which is maintained by the FBI, and showed a match with the evidence from the victim's body to Reavis, who's data was in the system from a previous charge in 1998.

Wilmington Police arrested Reavis April 30, from his mother's house on the 9000 block of South 7th Street.

The next day, detectives took a swab of Reavis' mouth and confirmed the DNA matched the evidence found on the victim's body.

After the evidence was presented, assistant public defender Roddy Brown filed motions to dismiss several of the charges based on lack of evidence, but was denied.

Brown told the jury Reavis has a long standing history of schizophrenia and was not aware of his actions during the incident.  His probation officer testified that Reavis' mother told authorities Reavis developed schizophrenia from having spinal meningitis as a child.

The defense will continue testifying Thursday.

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