A 2009 rape case that ended in a mistrial back in February wrapped up Monday with defendant Andre Grier pleading guilty to reduced charges.
Besides rape, Grier had faced two counts of armed robbery in connection with the June 16, 2009, incident in which four men burst into an East Heights Drive apartment and robbed three males in the residence after forcing them to the floor, authorities said. Then three of the four intruders raped a 19-year-old woman in a walk-in closet as a 10-month-old baby slept nearby, investigators said.
Grier was arrested in April 2010 after police matched his DNA to evidence found on the woman.His defense attorney, Stacey Jackson, said Grier is a drug dealer who traded drugs to the woman in exchange for the sex, which was consensual.
Superior Court Judge John Allen declared a mistrial in February because a prosecutor asked Grier about refusing to testify during a preliminary hearing. Any suspect has a Fifth Amendment right not to testify in court.
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On Monday, Jackson said Grier was about to go to trial when he agreed to plead guilty to burglary and aggravated assault with intent to rape. On the latter charge, Allen sentenced him to 20 years in prison, with 12 to serve and eight on probation. Grier also pleaded guilty to burglary, for which he received an additional 10 years’ probation, his attorney said.
Because of prior convictions, Grier could have gone to prison for life, without parole, had he been found guilty of the charges he initially faced, Jackson said.
According to police accounts of the crime, three men, the woman and her infant daughter were sleeping in the apartment when the four assailants began beating on the front door. The intruders, who all wore masks, then burst into the home wielding guns. They saw one of the residents sleeping in the living room and forced him to lie face down on the dining room floor. Checking the apartment’s two bedrooms, the intruders let the woman stay in one with the child, but pulled a man from her room and forced him to lie on the dining room floor. A third man was pulled from another bedroom and also forced to lie on the floor with the others, authorities said. Three of the four intruders then took the woman from her bedroom to a walk-in closet where they took turns sexually assaulting her, prosecutors said.
Jackson said Grier and the woman are both from Harris County and have known each other for years. Grier regularly sold drugs to her, he said. The woman called Grier that night and asked him to sell her drugs, and agreed to have sex with him because she didn’t have enough money, Jackson said.