GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — A Marshall County jury convicted a Guntersville man of raping and impregnating a teenage family member.
The jury deliberated for about 45 minutes Friday before finding Eric Shae Moore, 41, guilty on all five charges against him.
He will be sentenced at a later date for three counts of first degree rape, and one charge each of incest and second degree sexual abuse.
The defense rested its case Friday morning without any additional testimony, after calling just one witness Thursday afternoon.
Prosecutors called three witnesses Thursday morning, including an analyst from the Department of Forensic Sciences who told the jury DNA evidence showed a match between Moore and the child of his accuser.
The young woman said Moore began to sexually abuse her when she was 13, and raped her several times over the next few years at Moore’s house in Albertville.
She shook, cried, and struggled to breathe as she testified that Moore, more than twice her size, held her down and put a pillow over her head on multiple occasions.
She testified she received ongoing threats from Moore that he would hurt or kill her and other members of her family if she told anyone.
“I was scared from the previous times,” she said.
“He had hit me before, and I believe him; thought he was capable.”
The woman became pregnant when she was 16, after one of the sexual assaults.
She said she had to hide the pregnancy, as well as keep the father a secret.
“He told me to say it was this made up dude named Mario, a made up person he wanted everyone to believe was [my child’s] dad,” she said.
The woman testified she does not know anyone named named Mario.
She went to the police soon after her child turned one year old.
She said her sister was asking about Mario, and “I explained there was no Mario and it was Eric who did this to me.”
Albertville detective Tammy Nash testified about doing saliva swabs of the woman and her child, to collect DNA to send the Department of Forensics Scientist.
An analyst, Angela Williams, explained to the jury how paternity tests work.
“Once we have a DNA profile, first we look at the child and mother [to] determine which portion [of the DNA] came from the mother and which from the father,” Williams said.
“The remaining profile is compared to the DNA of the alleged father, to determine if the alleged father could be excluded.”
Williams said the test indicated no errors and Moore could not be excluded as the father.
If the alleged father can not be excluded, then scientists like Williams perform a statistical analysis called the probability of parentage.
It compares the probability the alleged father would produce a DNA match compared to the probability another random individual produced those types.
In this case, “the probability of parentage exceeds 99.9% for both the caucasian and African American population,” Williams said.
She said there is no way to give a probability of 100% paternity, because that would require DNA testing every male individual on earth.
Defense attorney Michael Stevens asked Williams about the possibility of another relative having similar DNA which could result in similar DNA for the child, and the expert analyst said within a family, it is possible for a brother to produce those blood types.
Ray Hampton, Moore’s half-brother who has the same father as Moore but a different mother, was the first witness called by the defense.
The defense attorney brought up the woman’s earlier testimony that she did not regularly interact with any of Moore’s siblings, but Hampton said that was not true and that he was “close close” with the victim.
He said said she often came to his house and told him personal stories, and that she and Moore appeared to have a normal relationship, and did not know of anything improper.
Hampton testified he would not lie on behalf of his half-brother.
Moore initially faced charges of four counts of rape first degree, which included lesser charges of two counts rape second degree, but the judge dismissed one count each after Moore’s attorney argued for an acquittal based on the victim’s testimony.
The judge upheld the other four rape charges, as well as one charge each for sexual abuse and incest.
At the time of his April 2011 arrest, Moore was also charged with rape of a second girl under the age of 18.
Prosecutors said those charges are pending, and that victim is unrelated.