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Victim, witness testify about brutal assaults

Attacks occurred in MCG hospital bathroom

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A witness in the June 2009 assault of a 63-year-old woman inside a Medical College of Georgia Hospital bathroom was momentarily paralyzed with fear entering court Monday when she saw the man she claims held her at knife-point and threatened to kill her.

Roger A. Bettis, of North Augusta, stands with his defense attorney, Amanda Morris, in an Augusta courtroom. He is accused of trying to rape a 63-year-old woman in a bathroom at Medical College of Georgia Hospital and holding a witness at knife-point.   Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Jackie Ricciardi/Staff
Roger A. Bettis, of North Augusta, stands with his defense attorney, Amanda Morris, in an Augusta courtroom. He is accused of trying to rape a 63-year-old woman in a bathroom at Medical College of Georgia Hospital and holding a witness at knife-point.


Tammi Kates leaned on the arm of a victim's assistance advocate as she walked slowly into the Richmond County courtroom to testify against Roger A. Bettis, 29, of North Augusta, who is facing attempted rape, assault and weapon charges stemming from the assault.

As she glanced at Bettis seated a short distance away, Kates cringed and quickly turned away. Later, she would cry and whimper when asked by a prosecutor to point him out in the courtroom.

Monday was the first day of trial for Bettis, who authorities said brutally beat, strangled and tried to rape a woman in the bathroom on the fourth floor of the hospital. The woman was at MCG visiting her terminally ill husband, who died 10 days after the incident.

Bettis was arrested several days after the assault after he fled from police and crashed his car into the Budget Inn on Broad Street. Authorities were pursuing him in connection with a robbery at the Greg's Gas Plus on Atomic Road that night.

In his opening statements, Assistant District Attorney Adam King told the jury that Bettis -- who had been released from a South Carolina prison just two days before the assault -- followed the victim into the bathroom, then climbed over the adjacent stall to attack her.

As she screamed, Bettis choked her, eventually rendering her unconscious, King said.

At some point during the struggle, the victim awoke and Bettis punched her until she passed out a second time, he said.

The woman suffered a concussion, cracked teeth, a dislocated jaw and several ruptured discs in her back. She can't sit for long periods because of the back pain, and she often sleeps in a reclining chair instead of her bed.

It is the emotional scars, however, that have created the most pain, King said.

"The good nights for (her) are the nights where she only wakes up screaming and crying," King said.

She also suffered some memory loss after the incident and has trouble recalling details about her friends, family members and even her husband's funeral. On the witness stand, the victim struggled to remember the date of his death.

She did, however, remember telling her husband about the attack.

"I made a joke of it," she recalled. "There's good news and bad news. The bad news is I got the crap beat out of me, and the good news is I don't remember it."

Her husband became emotional, she said.

"He was crying with tears down his face," she said.

During her testimony, Kates, who was at the hospital attending to her ill sister, said that when she entered the bathroom Bettis held her at knife-point and forced her into a back stall. After waiting for him to leave, she looked out and found the victim lying on the floor.

"When I came out and passed the first stall, all I could see was blood and hair," she said.

In her opening statements, Amanda Morris, Bettis' defense attorney, said the evidence the state will present -- such as surveillance footage of a man entering the bathroom and DNA tests on shorts recovered from Bettis' home, will not be enough to show he was the attacker.

"Fuzzy video, differing scientific reports -- this is not enough to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt," Morris said.

The case will resume this morning.

Comments (20) Add comment
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johnston.cliff
2
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johnston.cliff 10/19/10 - 06:33 am
0
0
Yeah, the pictures and the

Yeah, the pictures and the DNA are wrong and the "fine citizen" is right.

corgimom
43201
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corgimom 10/19/10 - 06:36 am
0
0
Too bad the death penalty

Too bad the death penalty doesn't apply here.

gnumbgnuts
0
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gnumbgnuts 10/19/10 - 06:38 am
0
0
I guess defense attorneys

I guess defense attorneys have to take the good with the bad, but how can anyone defend an animal like Bettis and sleep at night?

lifelongresident
1323
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lifelongresident 10/19/10 - 06:57 am
0
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ladies and gentleman your
Unpublished

ladies and gentleman your typical "scum bag" lawyer, i honestly don't know how this woman in her right mind could work to defend this person, herself a female, she wins him an acquittal and he rapes someone else, (it could even be her) i don;t know how she would be able to look at her self in the mirror...the best and proper defense would be to have him throw his self on the mercy of the court

ripjones
2
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ripjones 10/19/10 - 07:41 am
0
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Corgimom - I say there are

Corgimom - I say there are times when exceptions can be made. This is one of those times. @Lifelong - I'd rather him throw himself on a sharp knife or loaded gun. Ginsu or my Ruger, I really don't care.

seenitB4
108862
Points
seenitB4 10/19/10 - 08:17 am
0
0
I know the lady who was

I know the lady who was attacked....the damage is real in more ways than you can imagine.....she has lost memory & still has trouble today..she not only endured a brutal beating, she also lost her husband just days after the attack...my thoughts & love go out to this family....& to her kin because they have suffered also.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 10/19/10 - 08:51 am
0
0
What an animal. Lock him up

What an animal. Lock him up and never let him out.

TrulyWorried
18410
Points
TrulyWorried 10/19/10 - 09:02 am
0
0
Why do people refer to

Why do people refer to criminals as "animals" - I've said it before and I say it again - an animal would not do what these miserable excuses for human beings are doing.
I'd rather deal with an animal than a "human being" many a time!
With evidence readily available, cut down on the court time, save us taxpayers some money, lock him up and throw away the key.
I am terribly sorry for the agony this poor lady had to and now has to go through (again)in order to remove this monster from society - for good, I hope.

swinter05
5
Points
swinter05 10/19/10 - 11:10 am
0
0
the best and proper defense

the best and proper defense would be to have him throw himself from the top of the courthouse

Rolling Eyes
247
Points
Rolling Eyes 10/19/10 - 01:19 pm
0
0
I hope for the sake of the

I hope for the sake of the victim that this case is wrapped up quickly. If Bettis is found guilty I hope that the judge gives him the harshest penalty available and that he serves every minute of his sentence!

miss.k.
0
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miss.k. 10/19/10 - 01:30 pm
0
0
"who had been released from a

"who had been released from a South Carolina prison just two days before the assault" I'm noticing a pattern here with alot of these stories. Wonder what he was in prision for?

a different drum
26
Points
a different drum 10/19/10 - 02:08 pm
0
0
As I remember this same man

As I remember this same man also; robbed a gas station in N. Augusta and crashed a car he stole into a motel in Augusta, Ga -- all in the two days he was out of jail. Of course, that is what they can prove -- who knows what else he did. He ought to apply for a job with the City Of Augusta (just kidding).

mable8
2
Points
mable8 10/19/10 - 02:34 pm
0
0
It's really too bad he didn't

It's really too bad he didn't destroy himself in the wreck after the disgusting incident. He apparently has a history for violent crimes and in GA, the two-strikes law should apply; even if it doesn't there is the three-strikes law to help Bettis remain behind bars for the remainder of his life (which is where he belongs). I have no sympathy for someone as evil as he is.

a different drum
26
Points
a different drum 10/19/10 - 02:49 pm
0
0
It seems to me if they tried

It seems to me if they tried this man for all the crimes he committed and made him serve his terms consecutively – he would stay in jail for life. I hate to say it because I think most people deserve a second chance, but in this case -- I think it would be foolish to let this man back out on the streets. Look at all he did in two days of freedom.

seenitB4
108862
Points
seenitB4 10/19/10 - 02:50 pm
0
0
What a price innocents have

What a price innocents have to pay for jerks like this.

a different drum
26
Points
a different drum 10/19/10 - 03:09 pm
0
0
This man must have mental

This man must have mental problems. They let him out of jail and he acts like someone that escaped from jail.

a different drum
26
Points
a different drum 10/19/10 - 03:17 pm
0
0
I hate to say this, but if

I hate to say this, but if his lawayer was wise she would say he was crazy. No body in their right mind would do these things this man did. Having said that -- I still don't think he needs to be on the streets.

seenitB4
108862
Points
seenitB4 10/19/10 - 03:30 pm
0
0
He very well may have mental

He very well may have mental problems.....BUT he never should be on the streets again.

Cadence
219
Points
Cadence 10/19/10 - 07:37 pm
0
0
This was beyond terrible.

This was beyond terrible. This poor woman. Attempted rape, brutal beating as she stayed with her dying husband. That piece of human garbage needs to be locked away and never, never released into society. I'm sure we will hear he was an abused child, misused, misunderstood. I don't wanna hear it. Someone else will have to understand and forgive him; I can't.

realitycheck09
312
Points
realitycheck09 10/19/10 - 10:35 pm
0
0
You guys understand that his

You guys understand that his attorney doesn't decide whether he pleads guilty or not guilty, right?? Obviously those of you spewing hate at the attorney do not, in fact, understand that.

I guess you also don't realize that his attorney is legally obligated to represent him.

(And please, I'm not defending or supporting what the guy did. If he's guilty, he should be convicted and sentenced as harshly as the law allows. But don't blame his attorney, people.)

seenitB4
108862
Points
seenitB4 10/20/10 - 07:31 am
0
0
I was told last night that

I was told last night that this jerk got 95 years......he won't be on the streets again.......AMEN!

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