Former MPD officer accused of rape elects not to testify

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A former Memphis police officer who's charged with aggravated rape in a case from 2000 will not testify. Bridges Randle was indicted in 2014 after the City of Memphis tested the victim's rape kit.

Randle took the stand a short time to first say he would not testify than to consent to allow the jury to consider lesser charges than aggravated rape--like assault, rape, and sexual battery.

In a typical trial, a jury would automatically consider conviction on these lesser charges, but in this case, they can't because the statute of limitations for those lesser charges has passed because the City of Memphis did not test more than 12,000 rape kits over a period of years until the backlog was exposed.

Sgt. Mario Knox with Memphis Police Department testified he was temporarily assigned to the DNA unit of the sex crimes division back in 2013 and 2014 when it was exposed that Memphis had more than 12,000 untested rape kits.

"We were assisting, making sure we were getting the sex assault kits together and get the kits off to be tested," he said.

Knox told the jury he took on the case when the kit testing revealed a hit. The suspect developed was former MPD officer Bridges Randle-- who left the department in 2001.

Aside from taking an initial statement at the rape crisis center in June of 2000 when the alleged incident occurred, Knox testified no other investigating by MPD took place until the kit was tested.

It's assumed that if the state gets a conviction, those are the grounds defense attorney Leslie Ballin will use to appeal.

"Because the state had waited, because of their inaction for 14 years, it has prohibited this jury from considering lesser. We're at a loss," Ballin said.

The jury heard testimony about the actual DNA evidence itself--that the sample from the victim did match Bridges Randle, but Ballin's defense is that the encounter was consensual. They also heard from a friend of the victim who came to the victim's aid after the alleged incident took place.

The jury was given their instructions and court recessed for the night, wrapping up day two of the trial.

Closing statements and jury deliberations are expected to take place beginning at 9 a.m. Thursday.

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