Elliott

Staff photo— Jerry Larson

Former Baylor football player Tevin Elliott, who a prosecutor said needs to grow a conscience, was sentenced to the maximum 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine Thursday on each of two counts of sexually assaulting a former Baylor student in 2012.

A 54th State District Court jury of nine women and three men deliberated about two hours before rejecting the 22-year-old Elliott’s plea for probation.

While Elliott, a former defensive end at Baylor, was convicted of sexually assaulting a Baylor freshman twice at a party at a South Third Street apartment complex, two other former Baylor students testified that he sexually assaulted them, too.

There also was evidence that a fourth student reported he sexually assaulted her, but she did not testify.

Elliott, who came to Baylor in 2009 from Mount Pleasant, must serve at least 10 years before he can seek parole. By law, his sentences must be served concurrently.

In asking for probation, Elliott told jurors he has “grown tremendously” as a person since his arrest, saying he finished his degree after his suspension from Baylor and wants to be around to raise his two sons, ages 4 and 2.

Jurors declined comment and left the courthouse following the sentencing.

Apology

Elliott said he disagrees with the jury’s verdict and continued to claim that all three of the women — who did not know each other when the assaults occurred — lied. Still, he apologized to them, not because he admitted assaulting them but because he said they are mad at him.

“I apologize, but I am not the bad person they think I am,” he said. “I am a great person and I’m just going to grow and stay focused on my kids and work and teach my kids to learn from my mistakes and help them grow up to be better men.”

In punishment testimony, prosecutors Hilary LaBorde and Robert Moody called three of the women who reported Elliott sexually assaulted them and their mothers to give the jury an idea of the horrific effects the assaults still have on their lives and their relationships with other men and family members.

Defense attorney Jason P. Darling told jurors in summations that Elliott is a “young, educated man who should not just be thrown away.” He asked jurors to consider granting him probation so he can raise his two sons.

None of the victims or their mothers said they thought probation was an appropriate sentence for Elliott.

“My daughter’s life is ruined,” one of the mothers said. “I know God has a plan for her and she is going to get through this, but probation is not an option. It is not fair for you to get probation because this is not my daughter anymore.”

Earlier Thursday, the jury deliberated about an hour before dismissing Elliott’s claim that his relationship with the woman at the party was consensual and convicting him of the charges. He denied sexually assaulting any of them.

LaBorde called Elliott a violent serial rapist who can’t admit he did anything wrong because he doesn’t think he did anything wrong.

“Why is he apologizing? He said he did nothing wrong,” she said. “He doesn’t need counseling. He needs to grow a conscience. He needs to have some empathy for others.”

Moody asked jurors in summations how many more women Elliott needed to assault before he was deserving of the maximum sentence.

“He has destroyed every one of those families,” Moody said. “The thought of putting him on probation is disgusting.”

One of the former students testified that she called herself “damaged goods” for two years after Elliott sexually assaulted her. Her mother told jurors that her daughter feels guilty because she didn’t report the incident for a couple of years and realizes now that she might have prevented others from being assaulted if she had.

Another woman said the sexual assault made her “feel like I was nothing.”

“And when you feel like nothing, it makes you think that there is nothing for you left to love,” she said.