Attorney laments ‘too handsome to be a rapist’ defense wasn’t pushed harder in assault trial

By David Ferguson
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 11:36 EDT
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Darrious Mathis accused of rape (WSB screen grab)
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A jury in Cobb County, GA did not accept an accused rapist and his defense team’s contention that he is “too handsome” to ever have to rape anyone and that the defendant’s late-night encounter with a then-24-year-old woman was consensual.

The Journal of the American Bar Association reported Tuesday that the second trial of Darrious Mathis ended in his conviction for kidnapping, carjacking, possession of a weapon in the commission of a crime, and assaulting with intent to rob and rape.

Cobb County Assistant District Attorney Chuck Boring told the Daily Report that Mathis’ first trial in September ended in a hung jury and mistrial because one juror believed that a video used as evidence had been faked by police.

A defense lawyer from the first trial said that he would have stayed with his team’s original decision to portray the encounter between Mathis and the victim as consensual because of Mathis’ good looks. Dwight Thomas said in court that the woman Mathis is convicted of attacking had gone with the strange man willingly because he was so handsome.

He said that Mathis’ attorney in the second trial W. Carton Clayton should have used the “too handsome” defense more aggressively.

“I had him stand up,” Thomas said to the ABA Journal, “”I told the jury, ‘I wish I had what this guy’s got.’ Don’t take my word for it, look at him. A lot of women like this — and some men, too.”

Thomas’ novel defense was widely mocked and derided. In the retrial that ended this week, the defense relied more on the actions of the attacked woman, who said that in her panic she tried everything to make Mathis leave her alone, including handing over her car keys, wallet, phone and phone number.

Mathis’ attorneys said that these actions on the victim’s part implied consent, that she was not abducted from the CVS where they met in Cobb County, but rather went along willingly.

Once in Fulton County, the woman testified, Mathis raped her, then forced her at gunpoint to go from one ATM to another, emptying her bank account.

The defense team contended at trial that Mathis approached the victim and asked if she’d like to buy some pain pills. She allegedly consented and the two went on a drug-fueled joyride, stopping only to have sex and get more money from the ATM. However, no evidence of drugs or drug use was found in the stolen car when it was recovered and the woman has no history of drug abuse.

An expert in cases of rape and sexual assault explained to the court in the second trial that victims of violence sometimes do things that appear unexplainable in hindsight. It would be normal, the expert said, for a victim to try and win favor from an attacker however they could, including handing over their contact information.

The jury returned the guilty verdict on Monday.

Watch video about the retrial from March 20, embedded below:

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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