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Testimony begins in Bibb rape trial

A Lizella woman had just dropped off her son at a school bus stop on the foggy morning of Dec. 19, 2008, when a man emerged from the inside of her car trunk, she said.

The man, 33-year-old Eric Demond Ussery, fought with the woman, threatened her with a handgun and raped her, she testified Tuesday in Bibb County Superior Court.

Ussery, of Macon, is charged with rape, kidnapping and family violence-aggravated assault, according to court records.

Sara Roberts, Ussery’s lawyer, told the jury in opening statements held Tuesday morning that the sex was consensual and injuries the woman sustained were from her car striking a manhole while she wasn’t wearing a seat belt.

Evidence at trial will show the hole leading from the trunk to the interior of the woman’s car measured 13 inches by 13 inches and the latch is located on the inside of the car, not inside the trunk, Roberts said.

The woman, 32, testified she met Ussery in the fourth grade and dated him through high school.

After graduation, the couple continued to date off and on. At times, the relationship was “rocky” and violent, she said.

The relationship ended sometime before the birth of their second son in 1999. Although the romance rekindled in 2005 and 2006, the couple didn’t “get back together,” the woman testified.

In the months leading up to the December 2008 assault, the woman filed for a restraining order, she said.

But after leaving her job as a corrections officer, the woman agreed in fall 2008 to take Ussery to work if he’d give her money to help support their two sons. Ultimately, the arrangement didn’t work and she stopped driving Ussery to work prior to December, she testified.

Although the woman testified she wasn’t in a relationship with Ussery at the time of the assault, Roberts told the jury Ussery and the woman were still dating.

“They had a relationship. She just didn’t want her parents to know,” Roberts said.

She said the woman’s parents didn’t approve of the relationship.

The woman testified she didn’t have any reason to hide a relationship from her parents.

On the morning of Dec. 19, 2008, she was surprised to see Ussery emerge from her car trunk although he’d hidden in her trunk before, she said.

The woman said she tussled with Ussery and gained control of the gun.

She threw the gun out of the car, but somehow Ussery ended up on the driver’s side. He drove down the street past the woman’s house and onto a dirt road, she said.

He raped her after the car became damaged by running over two manholes or sewer pipes, she said.

The woman testified that she had a medical procedure a few days before the assault and had been advised not to have sex. She said she didn’t consent to have sex with Ussery.

Ussery drove the car back down the street to the vicinity of the bus stop after the assault. When he got out to look for his gun, the woman ran away, she said.

Roberts told the jury the couple engaged in consensual sex while parked on the dirt road. Ussery later pushed the car free from the manhole or sewage pipe after the car became damaged.

Ussery then drove the car back up the street to the vicinity of the school bus stop until it ran out of oil and became inoperable.

He offered the woman his car, but she refused, Roberts said.

Ussery went to work and was on a roof when members of the U.S. Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task force arrested him, she said.

Roberts said Ussery was beaten enough during the arrest that he went to the hospital before he was taken to jail.

No gun was recovered, she said.

Testimony is scheduled to continue Wednesday.

To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398.

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