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Roger Bettis' 2010 rape conviction for brutal attack at MCG in Augusta, reversed on appeal

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 4:56 PM
Last updated Wednesday, July 16, 2014 1:29 AM
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An Augusta man convicted of attempted rape and other crimes in a brutal attack in a hospital women’s restroom is entitled to a new trial, the Court of Appeals of Georgia has ruled.

Defendant Roger Bettis looks back at the crowd in the courtroom in 2010. Bettis' conviction which drew him 95 years in jail after he allegedly attacked a 63 year-old woman in a Medical College of Georgia bathroom, was recently overturned.   JACKIE RICCIARD/STAFF FILE
JACKIE RICCIARD/STAFF FILE
Defendant Roger Bettis looks back at the crowd in the courtroom in 2010. Bettis' conviction which drew him 95 years in jail after he allegedly attacked a 63 year-old woman in a Medical College of Georgia bathroom, was recently overturned.


In a July 10 opinion, the appellate court reversed Roger Bettis’ 2010 conviction and 95-year prison sentence because, it said, the trial judge didn’t follow the proper procedure to determine whether Bettis could represent himself at trial.

Judge Carl C. Brown Jr. presided over Bettis’ trial in Richmond County Superior Court. A jury found Bettis guilty of attempted rape, two counts of aggravated assault, kidnapping and possession of a knife during the commission of a crime.

On the night of June 3, 2009, a woman whose husband was a patient at Georgia Regents Medical Center entered a restroom on the fourth floor. She was in one of the stalls when a man climbed over it and attacked her.

The woman lost several teeth and sustained a dislocated jaw and heavy bruising in a rape attempt that was interrupted when another woman entered the restroom. The assailant, whose pants were down, threatened to kill the second woman with a knife and forced her into a stall to make his escape.

According to trial testimony, that woman was able to identify Bettis as the attacker. Sheriff’s investigators also collected the blood-stained shorts that Bettis had worn the night of attack. The beaten woman’s DNA was on the shorts.

Although the evidence at trial was sufficient for the jury to find Bettis guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the judge’s summary denial of Bettis’ request to represent himself was a constitutional error, the Court of Appeals found.

Criminal defendants are entitled to competent representation by an attorney regardless of their ability to hire counsel, but they also are guaranteed the right to represent themselves.

In 1975, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the issue is whether a defendant knowingly and intelligently waives the constitutional right to an attorney. The trial judge is required to “apprise the defendant of the dangers and disadvantages inherent in representing himself ...”

The appellate courts in Georgia and throughout the country have struggled over what constitutes “knowingly and intelligently” waiving the right to counsel.

The district attorney’s office must begin the appeal process this week.

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Pops
10352
Points
Pops 07/15/14 - 05:14 pm
12
2
It's

a madhouse......

seenitB4
90642
Points
seenitB4 07/15/14 - 05:57 pm
18
0
A FREAKING CIRCUS

I know this woman, I KNOW how much she still suffers today...no doubt he is guilty as sin..the video in the hospital also shows him in the hall ...her husband was DYING in the hospital when she was brutally attacked,we don't have justice anymore...this is outrageous.

GiantsAllDay
9845
Points
GiantsAllDay 07/15/14 - 07:06 pm
14
0
The guy is totally guilty.

The guy is totally guilty. And he will be found guilty again at his next trial. The sad part is three fold:
1) this poor woman may have to testify again at the second trial and relive the horrible experience.
2) the taxpayers will have to dish out more $$$ to put this guy away for good.
3) We have judges sitting on the bench who don't know the rules. More than anyone in the legal system, the judges on the bench should know the rules.

dichotomy
34332
Points
dichotomy 07/15/14 - 09:32 pm
9
0
Judge Brown knew the law and

Judge Brown knew the law and disregarded it. This was an automatic win on appeal. Is Judge Brown not very bright or simply arrogant like most judges?

itsanotherday1
45283
Points
itsanotherday1 07/15/14 - 10:40 pm
7
0
Don't blame the appellate

Don't blame the appellate court for granting a new trial; blame Carl Brown. It is his incompetence that caused it.

whyme
1968
Points
whyme 07/16/14 - 01:23 am
5
0
frustrating

We have to remember that while ideally the system is about justice for the victims and fair trials for those accused in the event that they are indeed innocent, it comes down to almost a game-like situation which is not ok. Take the terminology-which lawyer won the case and which one lost the case? Did someone follow the rules? The real reason for the case gets lost in the technicalities. While in this case, as it said, all the evidence points to the alleged criminal, there can always be a mistake and if those in charge don't have it together, innocent people get locked up and guilty ones go free. Here's hoping that they put aside the game playing and bring about justice.

geecheeriverman
3039
Points
geecheeriverman 07/16/14 - 05:01 am
5
0
He should have gotten death

If he had gotten the death sentence and it had been carried out in a timely manner, this would have been over by now. Some lawyer{s} are waiting in the wings looking at a BIG payday, all at taxpayers expense.

Dixieman
15896
Points
Dixieman 07/16/14 - 05:50 am
8
0
Hold on...

There's a possible appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court which could overrule the Court of Appeals and reinstate the verdict. So the fat lady ain't sung yet.

seenitB4
90642
Points
seenitB4 07/16/14 - 06:26 am
5
1
Dixieman

I hope you are right..But what a shame we waste so much tax money on this mixup...makes me sick.

corgimom
33953
Points
corgimom 07/16/14 - 07:15 am
6
1
Let that scum represent

Let that scum represent himself.

I wish he'd get the death penalty, he deserves it.

ctchpln
281
Points
ctchpln 07/16/14 - 07:29 am
4
0
I am glad

I am glad that defense attorneys are looking out for the rights of criminals/alleged criminals. However, when you have overwhelming evidence such as this in such a heinous crime a judge, attorney, or jury cannot overlook ANY THING that might give someone like Bettis a chance to get out of jail on a technicality! This is unconscionable!

deestafford
28603
Points
deestafford 07/16/14 - 07:42 am
4
0
How can a judge overlook something that I assume...

How can a judge overlook something that I assume a first year law student would learn?

Are lapses such as this common with Judge Brown or is this an abnormally?

Marinerman1
5043
Points
Marinerman1 07/16/14 - 07:58 am
3
0
Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't

This would've ultimately been appealed anyway. If Judge Brown had let this piece of yak-squeeze represent himself, he still would've been found guilty, but THEN he would've said he had incompetent representation (himself). The no-win scenario. Too bad he did not get shanked while he was in prison. The fault here, is with the Court of Appeals. They could've denied the appeal, simply based upon the evidence. They need to be censured, or removed from office @ the next election.

my.voice
4914
Points
my.voice 07/16/14 - 08:05 am
3
0
Its a sad day when common

Its a sad day when common sense no longer rules. Even police get a break when the evidence they come upon is tossed out if it would have inevitably been discovered. So how would this have had a different outcome with this looney bird representing himself? I can understand had he represented himself and was mentally incompetent, but he had a competent attorney representing his sorry tail.

EITHER way this clown would have asked for a new trial, either way.

Little Lamb
46859
Points
Little Lamb 07/16/14 - 08:13 am
3
0
Photo

Even though he told the judge he wanted to defend himself at trial, I'll bet he enjoyed sitting next to that attractive lawyer the court appointed to him.

GiantsAllDay
9845
Points
GiantsAllDay 07/16/14 - 08:41 am
3
0
I'm glad Dixieman brought up

I'm glad Dixieman brought up this point. The path to a new trial is not YET 100% clear. Dixieman and I don't always agree, but I yeild to him on all matters legal.

hoptoad
13508
Points
hoptoad 07/16/14 - 08:57 am
1
1
Admittedly, I do not know the

Admittedly, I do not know the party affiliation of this judge. However, in states where judges are elected I believe their party should be annotated on the ballot, even though it is not placed by their names because judges are supposed to be unbiased and perform their judical duties accordingly. Of course, their records should be a consideration also. But "D" sometimes means a judge may lean toward leniency, softness, and ignorance of the law or just plain ignoring the law.

There have been many cases in other states where judges who were outed as democrats have made boneheaded decisions on rape, molestation and porn.

In cases where judges are appointed, if you have democrats appointing them, they are going to appoint those judges who only agree with them. So folks who vote democrat have no reason to complain when things go haywire.

historylover
10986
Points
historylover 07/16/14 - 10:44 am
2
0
Beyond sad

Seenit, I too have known this woman my entire life. It breaks my heart that she will have to go through this whole thing again.

seenitB4
90642
Points
seenitB4 07/16/14 - 11:36 am
1
0
Thanks historylover

She didn't deserve this & hopefully dixieman is right & she won't have to.
I know her family...her sister is a good friend of mine.....they grew up on Morgan Rd....real country folks.

Airman
3764
Points
Airman 07/16/14 - 11:55 am
1
0
Read the novel

by John Grisham, The Appeal. I know it is fiction but I have met and talked with John and his reasearch is top notch. Its about buying the election of judges

corgimom
33953
Points
corgimom 07/16/14 - 12:50 pm
0
0
hoptoad, Superior Court

hoptoad, Superior Court judges in Georgia do not have a party affiliation.

In the last election, Judge Brown ran unopposed.

Fiat_Lux
15897
Points
Fiat_Lux 07/16/14 - 02:17 pm
0
0
Isn't rape still a capital crime?

as in, punishable by death?

I vote we spend the money letting him show how stupid he is as well as how vicious in a new trial, and then spend whatever it costs to put him to death. It would be worth it to rid the planet of this piece of garbage.

JENNPAT
241
Points
JENNPAT 07/16/14 - 06:26 pm
0
0
Courts

some judge's does not even need to be judge's half of the time they even don't pay attention to what's being said in a court. that is why some of them don't need to be on the bench and this guy is guilty and they know he is .so why waste tax payers money with another new trail this women has been though enough so why make her relive it all again.

stuaby
4346
Points
stuaby 07/16/14 - 07:03 pm
0
0
Holy cow. I just noticed

Holy cow. I just noticed that the victim here was 63!

What a sick, sick, sick puppy this guy is. Aahh! 63! Poor woman! Aargh!

With all of the horny and available 20-somethings out there! (Mind you, I'm not speaking from direct involvement. This is just an observation.)

Darby
26878
Points
Darby 07/17/14 - 12:03 am
1
0
And now we,

the cash strapped taxpayer get to fund another trial for this twit, knowing before it even gets to court that he's gonna go back to jail.

Maybe he plans to cop to a lesser plea and end up with a reduced sentence.

NancyCasto
41
Points
NancyCasto 07/17/14 - 09:04 am
0
0
Waste of taxpayers money

Go ahead and let him have another trial but in the meantime castrate the SOB.

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