Trial begins for 2008 murder, rape (Jan. 24, 2012)
Detailed interview played on day 2 of murder trial (Jan. 25, 2012)
Rabon testifies in murder case (Jan. 30, 2012)
Closing arguements given in murder trial (Jan. 31, 2012)
Testimony in the trial of Georgia vs. Travis Santell Rabon on charges including murder, rape and aggravated sodomy, concluded on Monday with the defendant taking center stage.
Defense attorney Michael Waldrop called Rabon to the stand to tell his side of the events that occurred on Dec. 29, 2008 when he allegedly raped two women and strangled one of them to death - Keira Rochell Avant - at the Lake St. James Apartments.
Rabon said he called Avant at about 8:10 that morning to chat because he "hadn't heard from her in a while." During the course of the phone conversation Avant said she needed to borrow money and Rabon invited her over.
Rabon said she was in the apartment twice that day, leaving the first time because one of the friends who brought her had to leave for work.
When that friend found out she didn't have to work that day, Avant went back up to the apartment.
Rabon said he didn't have any money so he offered to give Avant marijuana from a package of almost a pound he had in his closet.
"I only had enough money for that night," Rabon said. "I offered her some marijuana."
According to Rabon's testimony, when she was in the apartment she said she was hungry and made some Hot Pockets. At that point a female unknown to Rabon came to the door and took the Hot Pockets.
After the Hot Pockets left, Rabon told the jury that Avant then tried to "entice" him into having sex.
"I was shocked because we had barely hugged each other," he said. "She was more like a little sister to me than a sexual partner."
After Avant reportedly suggested to put on a pornographic video the two engaged in sexual relations, according to Rabon. Rabon said the other female then knocked on the door, and she and Avant convinced him to have threesome.
During that time Rabon said Avant came out of his closet with a cord that his fiance received at graduation.
"It was kinky, she wanted to tie my hands up," Rabon said. "The rope wasn't my idea. I didn't touch the rope."
He went on to say he never touched the rope and didn't want anything to do with it, a testimony that contradicted an earlier one from a police interview. During the interview played Wednesday he said that he used the alleged murder weapon to keep her still.
That contradiction, along with many others, was posed by District Attorney Richard Read later during cross-examination.
Before Read could question the defendant, Rabon went on to tell Waldrop that while engaged in the threesome the other female left for a little bit before re-entering the bedroom. Rabon said when she came back in she was behind him with his gun. The gun that he said he bought for protection after he was robbed earlier.
However, in the interview with investigators played on Wednesday he said he didn't have a gun, the gun was his brother's and then that the gun was his cousin's.
Rabon said after the third person in engaged in the sex act pulled the gun on him, he slapped it out of her hand and the two fought for it. As he was fighting it for her, he elbowed her in the face while she was squeezing his testicles.
At that point Rabon said he "tapped her no more than four times (with the gun) to get her to release me."
After the incident Rabon said he helped her get cleaned up, as the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office knocked on the door. At that point he said he went to the bedroom to discard the marijuana and put his shirt on to answer the door.
Read asked why Rabon didn't see Avant while going in for the marijuana.
"She was so special to you that you ran right past her lying on the bedroom floor not moving and you did nothing?" Read asked.
"That's correct," Rabon replied.
After asking his first question, Read then had Avant's father stand up in the courtroom and asked Rabon if he cared to tell him the "truth" about what happened to his daughter. After Rabon said he had already told the truth, Read went on with his questioning.
Read asked him about the contradictions in his earlier testimony, to which Rabon said he lied to investigators but was telling the truth now. Those lies included that about the rope.
"She placed it around herself. She put it around her neck," Rabon said. "I didn't touch her. I didn't have anything to do with it."
Rabon also testified Monday that the other female involved in the incident said something different than what an earlier witness said that he heard when she reportedly shouted out "Why are you doing this to me? I have a 3-year old."
Rabon said on the stand Monday that she didn't say that. Read asked him how then, when talking to investigators as shown in the tape, that he knew she had a 3-year old daughter. He replied that "they led me to that."
At the end of his questioning, Read again asked Rabon if he had anything to say to Avant's father. To which Rabon said he had told the truth.
Jurors also heard from forensic psycholgists who tested Rabon earlier this month and testified that his IQ scores were on the borderline of mentally impaired, although he had relatively functional verbal skills, allowing him to hold a job as a security guard for six months.
They also reportedly found that Rabon had post traumatic stress syndrome, from being the victim of armed robberies that occured in 2007 and 2008, and scored siginficantly for anxiety, paranoia, and psychopathic deviance - or difficulty with authority figures, according to Dr. Heather Futral.
The defense rested Monday afternoon, and the jury will hear closing statements Tuesday before entering deliberation.