WAXAHACHIE — Following the testimony from four alleged victims, hundreds of pieces of evidence, his own son and Kevin Coffey himself, both the State and defense rested their cases Thursday afternoon in the 443rd Judicial District Court.
After Kevin Coffey had taken to the stand in his own defense, Judge Cindy Ermatinger informed the court that she would begin preparing the charge to issue to the jury Friday at 9:30 a.m.
When court reconvened after Thursday's lunch break, Coffey’s attorney James Jenkins addressed the court and stated that he advised Coffey not to testify in the case. Jenkins explained that, if he did, anything he could say could be questioned by the state against him. While on the record, Coffey told the judge that he understood and Ermatinger summoned the jury back into the courtroom.
Jenkins asked Coffey about his background before working in law enforcement. Coffey told the court that he served as a Marine for six years in the 1980’s and then, after being medically discharged, went to the police academy. Coffey said he had served as a police officer in North Carolina and Texas and was highly decorated, having received several commendations, which included three for life saving.
Jenkins then asked Coffey about his time as Chief of the Maypearl Police Department. Coffey said the when he started as an officer the department didn’t have any direction.
“The department, before I was chief, didn’t have a purpose,” Coffey said. “It was a speed trap.”
Coffey said some of the things he undertook included increasing the training officers received, getting better equipment, starting community programs and creating a police station within the existing city hall. Before the additional space officers operated out of one small office. Coffey told the court he worked long hours because "there was so much to be done."
Jenkins asked Coffey about the picture he sent of handcuffs to the first juvenile. Coffey said the photo was set to make a statement because she was taking about driving around without a license. Coffey explained picture of the handcuff with the caption that read “one of these days” meant that one of these days she was going to be arrested by someone if she didn’t stop.
Jenkins then asked Coffey about his relationship with the second juvenile that came to his office at city hall, which he also communicated with through Skype. In previous testimony, the second juvenile told the court that Coffey had touched her on the outside of her pants and “dry humped” her next to the desk in his office.
“I did not sexually penetrate here and did not cause her to have an orgasm. I don’t know why she would say that,” Coffey said. He did, however, acknowledge that the conversations on social media applications, texts, and SnapChat were inappropriate.
“Originally I thought it was her mom. I did have inappropriate SnapChats with her. (Later) for no better reason, they became adult. It was stupid,” Coffey said.
Coffey then told the court that the audio recordings played to the jury, which were adult in nature, were with a 51-year-old woman who lives in another state. Coffey stated he had been dating the woman on and off since high school.
Under cross-examination, Ellis County Assistant District Attorney Ricky Sipes asked Coffey if he was in love with the victims or had used them. Coffey replied, "no."
Coffey told the court that the communication he had with the second juvenile on Skype was used as another avenue to talk with and help her.
Sipes admonished Coffey for his line of thinking by asking, “How is telling her (the second juvenile) that raping her ass and calling her a cum bucket helping?”
Coffey replied, “It's not. “
Sipes asked Coffey that, since he knew about all of the problems that this teenager was having in her life with drugs, why he didn’t seek help for her. Coffey said he did by speaking with her parents, members of the drug task force and getting her help through a psychiatric facility.
Sipes then asked Coffey why he didn’t arrest the first juvenile for drug use. To which he replied that when she told him that she was “high,” he would call the officer on duty to be on the look out for the vehicle so she could be stopped. Coffey stated that she was not using around him and never had it on her so he could not make an arrest.
He added that he used the first juvenile to help make drug arrests because she would provide him with tips.
“It’s a tactic to use a small fish to catch a big fish,” Coffey said. “We didn’t put her in that position. We used information to make arrests.”
Sipes told the court that he was as a former police officer and that his actions by using a 14-year-old were “reckless,” “dangerous” and “ill-advised.”
Sipes questioned Coffey about the nude photos of a 14-year-old that were found by investigators on his computer.
“Why is that a 48-year-old man has nude photos on his computer from a runaway case,” Sipes questioned.
"She probably sent them to my phone and it downloaded it to my computer. I download my phone to my computer,” Coffey responded. “If I intentionally save (a file) I’ll change the name.”
Sipes followed up by asking Coffey, “Are you a pervert?”
Coffey responded, “From those photos, I guess it appears that I am.”
BEFORE HIS SELF-DEFENSE
Before Coffey took the stand in his defense, the court heard from two additional victims that provided gripping testimony about the abuse they suffered allegedly from Coffey.
A fifth victim, who is now an adult female, was called to the witness stand to testify. The woman testified that an incident took place at Coffey’s residence where he touched her breasts inappropriately. She told the court that she was under 17 years old at the time.
Pandithurai asked the fifth victim if Coffey had written to her while he was in jail. She told the court that Coffey had asked her for favors in one letter. The woman stated that Coffey wanted to contact the second juvenile to tell her “he was sick” and “to recant her testimony.”
The fifth victim told the court she gave all of the information about the requests Coffey had made to her in the letter to the Ellis County Sheriff’s Office.
Pandithurai asked her if she would have still come to testify even if she was not subpoenaed.
“Yes. I know what it is like to make an outcry and (have) no one to listen,” the fifth victim said.
During cross-examination, Jenkins then asked the fifth victim if that incident with Coffey touching her breast is the only one that took place. The fifth victim responded by stating that is was the only incident.
The fourth victim, who was previously discussed by Texas Ranger Adam Sweaney as a 29-year-old woman during Wednesday's testimony, was then called to the witness stand. The alleged victim, who is now 30 years old, told the court that she contacted law enforcement after seeing reports about the investigation into Coffey’s alleged actions. She stated the news reports asked her to come forward.
Assistant District Attorney Grace Pandithurai asked the fourth victim when it was that she met Coffey. She replied that it was while he was serving as a Grandview Police Officer. She told the court that her life, at the time, was troubled and that she “wanted attention from someone and wanted to be loved.”
The fourth victim informed the court that one time Coffey had pulled her friend’s truck over. When Coffey took them back to his patrol car, he made remarks of “how cute I looked” and “how good my butt looked.”
The fourth victim said the relationship between Coffey and her progressed and took a darker turn. One incident she recalled to the court was when Coffey had sexually assaulted her near a public restroom at a baseball field. She told the court that Coffey groped her and put his hand down her pants.
Pandithurai then asked if, as the relationship progressed, she ever felt like Coffey was a trustworthy person.
“I felt like he would never do anything bad or lead me down the wrong path,” the fourth victim said.
Pandithurai then asked the fourth victim what techniques Coffey would use to have her come out of her grandfather’s house when he was in the area.
“He would drive by and shine a light on his patrol car in the window. Then I would come out,” the fourth victim said. “I thought that he liked me more than just a friend.”
In previous testimony on Monday, the first juvenile shared a similar experience of Coffey flashing his lights on his patrol vehicle to get her to come outside.
The fourth victim told the court that, on her 15th birthday, Coffey took her to a restaurant where he purchased alcohol for her. Following the meal, he took her back to his residence.
“After dinner, we went to his house and straight to his bedroom. He told me how pretty I was and grabbed my butt. He had me pose for a photo in the way he wanted and took several pictures."
Under cross-examination, Coffey’s attorney James Jenkins asked the fourth victim, if when she and her friends had been drinking, did Coffey do anything, such a pour out the alcohol? The fourth victim replied that he didn’t and didn’t even write a ticket.
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