WEATHERFORD, Tex. – A Texas woman who authorities say was kidnapped and tortured for nearly two weeks by her ex-neighbor told jurors Wednesday that she rejected his romantic advances several years ago.
The woman testified that Jeffrey Allan Maxwell occasionally chatted with her when he lived half a mile from her rural North Texas home, but she told him to keep away when he started coming on too strong.
The 63-year-old woman said Maxwell once asked her to kiss him as a thank you for borrowing his tractor, recalling that the experience "felt weird."
Maxwell moved in 2005, and the woman said she had not seen him since -- until he unexpectedly showed up at her house last March.
Prosecutors say Maxwell abducted her at gunpoint and drove her 100 miles away to his house near Corsicana, some 50 miles south of Dallas, and tortured her on a deer-skinning device, chained her to a bed and even put her in a box when he'd leave to run errands.
When authorities went to Maxwell's house 12 days later, acting on tips to question him about the woman's disappearance, she escaped and ran outside.
Maxwell, 59, faces up to life in prison if convicted of aggravated kidnapping and two counts of aggravated sexual assault.
The Associated Press does not identify alleged victims of sexual assault.
When jurors were dismissed for a lunch break, Parker County prosecutor Kathleen Catania asked the judge to tell Maxwell to stop making facial expressions during the woman's testimony.
State District Judge Trey Loftin harshly told Maxwell that if he tried to harass or intimidate a witness, he would be removed from the courtroom and not allowed to attend the rest of his trial. When he asked Maxwell if he understood his order, Maxwell said he did.
Earlier Wednesday, jurors saw various items that authorities seized from Maxwell's house and car, including blood-stained underwear, guns, a large wooden box with a lid, duct tape, pepper spray, whips, handcuffs and women'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.
Authorities had a search warrant only for one of Maxwell's cars when they first arrived at his house to question him, but an investigator testified earlier in the trial that no evidence was seized until after another search warrant was obtained for the house the next day.