Weatherford Democrat

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August 1, 2012

Weatherford man gets 30 years for rape plea

PARKER COUNTY — In the first case to be prosecuted, a Weatherford man suspected of offering jobs to multiple women before raping them in various Texas counties pleaded guilty Monday to sexual assault and received a 30-year sentence.

David Joe Garner, 51, was convicted of a May 4, 2011, rape in Childress and faces another charge regarding an alleged drugging and rape in a Weatherford incident several days prior.

Garner offered DFW-area women jobs in the cattle industry and isolated them by taking them to motel rooms where he would be there alone with them, 100th Judicial District Attorney Luke Inman said.

The victim in Childress, Christina White, called 911 from a convenience store after Garner raped her at a motel in the city.

Though the Democrat does not typically identify victims of sexual assault, White agreed that her name be used.

Garner was detained and released that night, though White was taken to the hospital for medical care and then arrested on an outstanding traffic warrant.

She told other news agencies that Childress police officers did not take her allegations of sexual assault seriously and that her husband and father contacted the Texas Rangers after picking her up from jail hours later.

It wasn’t until she was later released from custody that she obtained a sexual assault examination at a Wichita Falls hospital. During the exam, the nurse found trauma and collected additional evidence, later linked to Garner by the DPS lab in Lubbock.

Childress Police Chief Reese Bowen did not return a call by deadline late Tuesday or several calls left last year regarding the case.

However, in a statement released through Inman’s office, Bowen said “the evidence we were able to obtain” did not corroborate the story that the victim and Garner were giving officers at the time.

“We know Mrs. White has endured a traumatic experience and our whole department is thinking of her and her family and are glad to see this criminal case resolved in this fashion,” Bowen said.

Weatherford law enforcement were already looking at Garner after he was identified in an investigation of a sexual assault on April 27, 2011, according to court records. He was arrested at a Fort Worth hospital on May 6 on a parole violation warrant.

“This defendant is a con man, plain and simple,” Inman said.  “He sold lies to Christina [White] and her husband Josh [White].  He sold the same lies to several other victims that had to endure his heinous crimes against them that Christina went through.  He was even able to con his way out of getting arrested on the night the sexual assault took place.  This unfortunate incident makes you aware of the type of criminal mind that you deal with from time to time in this business.”

In a statement made after the plea, White said she was a different person today prior to Garner savagely raping, torturing and attempting to take her life.

“My life is forever changed,” White said.  “I will live in fear for the rest of my life.  I cannot even take my own children out of my house by myself.”

“Before David Garner, we were rebuilding our lives,” Josh White said after sentencing.  “He was a very charming person and I feel guilty for letting this happen because I almost lost my wife to someone that reminded me of the grandpa I never had.”

“A dangerous person pleaded guilty today and will be behind bars for a long time because of these victims’ strong will and determination to make sure he got the justice he deserved,” Inman said.

The case is similar to a sexual assault reported in Weatherford on April 27, 2011.

“The victim advised that she and her brother were approached in Tarrant County by a white male looking for people to work with him and advised he was a cattleman and provided the name of ‘David,’” the search warrant probable cause statement reads.

The victim’s brother gave the two a ride to the truck stop on Old Dennis Road where Garner’s truck and trailer were supposed to be parked, according to the court document.

Garner reportedly told the woman there was something wrong with the wheels of the trailer, they could not go anywhere and he would get rooms at the motel and buy hamburgers.

“The victim stated that David only got one room and due to her being tired [she] agreed to stay in the same room,” the affidavit stated. “The victim stated that when she began to eat the burger (in the motel room) it tasted funny, and then stated the room began to spin and she got dizzy.”

The woman reportedly woke up later and found herself nearly naked except for panties that were inside out and backward, according to the court document.

The woman reportedly told the officer she found blood on the sheets.

She later woke up around 5 p.m. in pain, questioned Garner about what had happened, and he reportedly told her she had passed out and undressed, according to the court document.

When Garner left the room, she called her boyfriend, who picked her up and immediately drove her to John Peter Smith Hospital where a rape test kit was conducted, according to the affidavit.

Officers reportedly found Garner listed as the renter of the hotel room and seized two Seroquel tablets, liquid samples from two drinking glasses, hamburger wrappers and a glass bong when a search warrant was executed at the motel room early morning April 28.

Garner is a suspect in sexual assaults in multiple counties across Texas, according to Inman, who said they made the case with the cooperation of various prosecutors’ offices and law enforcment agencies, including the Weatherford Police Department, Parker County Assistant District Attorney Nikki Morton and Texas Ranger Anthony Bradford.

Garner will have to serve half his sentence, which was enhanced because of prior felony theft convictions, before becoming eligible for parole, according to Inman.

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