The case of a Mechanicsville man who is accused of raping and assaulting a woman, threatening to “cut her face up” and telling her not to “play police games” went to trial on Monday.
Trevis Lemar Butler, 38, was accused in 2018 of a series of attacks on the woman, and of following the woman to MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital where she was to undergo a forensic investigation.
Surveillance video from the hospital shown at trial this week displays a man, who the woman identified as Butler, running to the woman’s vehicle. She later testified in court that he entered the car and said, “If I go to jail, I go to jail for life.”
The previous week, charging papers allege, Butler allegedly burned the woman’s thigh with a lit cigarette when she refused to have sex with him at her home, and days later, on Sept. 30, 2018, Butler allegedly struck her on the head, choked her, threatened to “cut her face up so bad she would never take another selfie,” then continued to rape her while beating her head, and struck her with an empty wine bottle.
Butler then allegedly refused to let her seek medical help and warned her “if she called the police, he was going to come back and shoot her, or hurt one of her children,” charging documents say.
On Friday morning’s docket call hearing for Butler’s case, Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Buffy Giddens noted that a plea offer was made, which was rejected by Butler.
On Monday morning prior to jury selection, Butler’s attorney, Robin Ficker, indicated that he had submitted new discovery on Friday afternoon including several text message logs alleged to have been sent from the woman to Butler and his wife following the incident, which he said were “exculpatory.”
The state received the texts “the morning of” the trial, St. Mary’s Circuit Judge David W. Densford said.
“I oppose trial by ambush,” Densford said. The texts were later admitted into evidence.
By midday on Monday, a jury had been selected, and the two lawyers offered opening statements.
“Often, abusers use fear, threats and violence to intimidate their victims,” Giddens said Monday afternoon. She said that after the woman, who was previously in an intimate relationship with Butler, was able to leave him, he came “back over a few days later” and attacked her.
“She decided that she would rather take the beating” than fight it, Giddens said.
Ficker elected to reserve his opening statement.
The state’s evidence presented on Monday included testimony from Detective Austin Schultz of the St. Mary’s sheriff’s office as well as the alleged victim, who recounted a cycle of abuse from Butler, detailing her account of a 2017 incident where she was left with a bloody, bruised face.
The Enterprise does not print names of victims in cases of alleged rape.
The woman continued to detail the evening about a year later where she alleged that Butler beat her and raped her after she refused to have sex with him.
On Tuesday morning, two detectives assigned to the case as well as a Maryland State Police crime lab technician testified, before Ficker called Butler and his wife to the stand at press time on Tuesday.
As of press time on Tuesday, the trial was ongoing.
Butler is also facing three additional cases, including one which alleges he recorded the woman at a private residence. Last Friday, he said he would seek a public defender for that case.