18-year-old faces judge for sexual assault and kidnapping charges
San Jacinto News- Times - June 2008
COLDSPRING -- An 18-year-old San Jacinto County man indicted for sexual assault and kidnapping of a 14-year-old girl went before District Judge Elizabeth Coker Friday morning for a no-issue setting court appearance. Bertis Chapman, along with two juveniles, was indicted recently with no other evidence except the girl’s statement and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, according to a Houston activist.
Leader of the New Black Panther Party in Houston, Quannell X, stood alongside Chapman’s mother, Patricia Lee, after the hearing and spoke on behalf of Chapman and his family. “The investigators did not investigate the crime scene, did not get statements from the boys, and did not get DNA evidence from the girl’s clothes, the boys’ clothes or the scene of the crime,” Quannell X said.
Chapman’s lawyer, J. Paxton Adams, would not comment at this time; but, Quannell X stated that the family wants the case to be dismissed on the grounds that due process did not take place. “The police should have done a much better job of investigating before they ran to take this case to a grand jury and indict them,” Quannell X said.
Coldspring ISD Police Department was in charge of the investigation because the alleged act occurred on school property in a vehicle during a high school basketball game. Coldspring ISD police offi cer, Kirby Cowles, refused to comment when questioned, saying this case is now the district attorney’s responsibility.
San Jacinto County Criminal District Attorney Bill Burnett would not comment on the type of evidence presented to the grand jury. “A thorough investigation was done and our position is that we try cases in the courtroom, not in the press. The investigation will be ongoing,” Burnett said. According to Burnett, any outcome in the case is