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Woman testifies she prayed through 12 days of torture, in Texas trial of Jeffrey Maxwell

Jeffrey Allan Maxwell Navarro County Jail

Jeffrey Allan Maxwell is on trial for kidnapping and sexual assault
Navarro County Jail

(CBS/AP) WEATHERFORD, Texas - A 63-year-old Texas woman who was allegedly held captive and tortured for 12 days told jurors Wednesday that she prayed repeatedly throughout her ordeal.

"I prayed all the time: silently, mentally," the woman testified Wednesday during the trial of Jeffrey Allan Maxwell, 59, who could face life in prison if convicted of aggravated kidnapping and two counts of aggravated sexual assault.

The woman, who the Associated Press did not identify because she is a victim of sexual assault, testified that her legs were chained to a bed, she was locked in a nearly airtight wooden box, and was tortured on a deer-skinning device by Maxwell, her former neighbor in rural North Texas.

One of her repeated prayers was: "God, don't let Jeff kill me! God, please spare my life!"

Defense attorneys did not make an opening statement and are expected to cross-examine her Thursday.

The woman told jurors that in years past, Maxwell would occasionally chat with her when he lived half a mile from her home outside Weatherford, but she told him to keep away when he started coming on too strong by asking to kiss her.

In 2005, Maxwell moved to Corsicana, a town about 100 miles away.

But in March 2011, he came to her house, sprayed something in her eyes and started dragging her as she grabbed onto a barbed-wire fence, she testified. He shackled her hands and feet and hit her twice in the head. She briefly escaped and ran down the road before he caught up with her and forced her into the back of his SUV at gunpoint, she said.

He then took her into his garage, whipped and sexually assaulted her while she was suspended naked on a deer-skinning device, she said.

The woman said she is a devout Christian who had never married and had no sexual experiences before the ordeal. She said she didn't understand what was happening, and worried God may not forgive her.

After about a week, she Maxwell stopped assaulting her because he became ill, but he occasionally asked her to sit on his lap while he watched television and he touched her breasts.

She said he let her read the Bible but chained her leg to the bed each night. He once left a cellphone out, but she said she didn't know how to use it and thought he might hear her -- and kill her -- if she tried calling for help.

Maxwell convinced her that someone hired him to kill her, and she told jurors Wednesday that she still believed his story.

Earlier, jurors saw items authorities seized from Maxwell's house and car, including blood-stained underwear, guns, a long wooden box with a lid, duct tape, pepper spray, whips, handcuffs and a pair of the woman's shoes.

Defense attorneys have objected to entering the evidence at the trial, questioning whether authorities had obtained proper search warrants before collecting items from Maxwell's house.

Complete coverage of the Jeffrey Allan Maxwell case on Crimesider

  • Crimesider Staff

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