Sentence upheld in extension cord beating

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Mississippi Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of a Vicksburg man found guilty of forcing his ex-girlfriend to strip naked before beating her with an extension cord.

The court this week upheld a 10-year sentence for Terris Torrell Stevenson, 42, who was convicted in 2013 of third-offense domestic violence.

On appeal, Stevenson argued that prosecutors made improper statements during closing arguments that referenced him possibly not going to jail. Prosecutors said that the statements were made to show the victim’s state of mind when she initially asked police to drop charges against Stevenson.

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“Now you’ve got to come testify. In the jury instructions, it even said judge her credibility. Be judged one more time for what you did, for taking a beating. Be judged because your restraining order failed. And know that he’s not going to jail for any length of time on simple assault,” one of the prosecutors said during closing arguments.

The Court of Appeals Record does not list which attorney in the District Attorney’s Office made the statements.

The appeals court found no fault with the argument and ruled that Steven’s attorney, Eugene Perrier, should have objected to the trial court if he felt the statement was improper.

On March 31, 2012, Stevenson saw his ex-girlfriend walking on Crawford Street with a male acquaintance, according to court records. Stevenson got out of his car, told the woman he loved her and wanted her to get into his car. At trial, the woman testified that she was scared, but got into the car anyway.

The woman began to drive the vehicle after a policeman pulled up and noticed Stevenson was intoxicated, according to court records.

While she was driving, Stevenson slapped her in the face, and stole $40 from her because he thought her male acquaintance had paid for her to have a manicure, the woman testified at trial.

She drove the vehicle to Waltersville Estates where he took her inside an apartment, ordered her to remove her clothes and beat her with an electrical cord, according to court records. The woman also testified that Stevenson hit her in the head with a boot.

After the assault, the woman said, Stevenson asked her several times to drop charges against him. Eventually, she went to Vicksburg investigator Beverly Prentiss and asked that the charges be dropped.

At Stevenson’s trial, Prentiss testified that the woman seemed “coerced, guided and controlled,” when she arranged to have the charges dropped.

Stevenson is serving his sentence in the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. He is slated for release in September 2020, according to Mississippi Department of Corrections Records.