Editor's note: This story contains graphic language.
Slinging obscenities, insults and death threats at officers following a guilty verdict, Eric Michael McElroy on Wednesday was transported to the Angelina County Jail for aggravated sexual assault of a child at a Lufkin apartment in 2017.
Upon receiving the guilty verdict, McElroy told 159th state District Judge Paul White that White was taking him away from his son.
McElroy was marched out of the courthouse by four officers and deputies and placed in a transport van. The van rocked back and forth while passersby could hear him threatening the deputy transporting him and slamming himself against the walls.
The deputy called for back-up to have McElroy removed from the van, and eight or nine deputies and officers responded to the scene. He allowed himself to be placed in another deputy’s truck and deputies were able to transport him to the county jail.
McElroy was arrested by Lufkin police on Dec. 22, 2018, following an outcry by a then-7-year-old girl in April 2018. He was represented by Lufkin attorney John Tatum.
The victim made three outcries about the incident in question, once to a friend, to her mother and in a forensic interview at the Martin House Children’s advocacy Center in Longview in 2018. White heard evidence regarding her statements Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning.
The final witnesses were McElroy and the mother of one of his children. During Wednesday’s trial, Tatum and prosecutor Sandra Martin attempted to determine a time frame for which the assault could have occurred.
The woman said she did not believe McElroy was capable of doing the acts described by the victim and by other witnesses.
She said he was rarely, if ever, alone with the victim or another child that the victim said was present during the assault. She also denied various other details that had been provided throughout the court proceedings, including when the child visited McElroy's Deer Wood I apartment.
The witness said the children were only at the apartment where the victim said the assault occurred a few times, and rarely overnight.
And while previous testimony indicated McElroy used candy to coerce sex acts from the victim, the witness said no candy was kept in the apartment because she was pregnant at the time and had gestational diabetes.
In previous testimony, the victim said the assault caused no pain. The witness disputed this, saying McElroy's genitals were too large not to cause pain. In her forensics interview and in other discussions with adults, however, the victim did say the assault was painful.
During Martin's questioning, McElroy interrupted proceedings and angrily said that the questions were leading to lies. Tatum asked that McElroy be quiet and let (Tatum) do his job at the right time and place.
White asked the witness if she needed a recess to compose herself and she left the courtroom visibly upset. Martin said McElroy was intimidating the witness in passing.
When she returned, the witness said she did not believe McElroy would do the acts described by the victim, but she also said he would have had an opportunity.
McElroy was the last to testify. He and Martin interrupted each other for the first 10 minutes or so of his testimony, causing White to continually stop the proceedings and remind both parties to let each other speak.
McElroy said he believed the victim and her mother, who testified on Monday, were lying and that the victim was an actress. He said her story was inconsistent and that he didn’t believe any of the other testimonies showed it to be consistent.
He also said that the accusations made against him would be physically impossible.
In closing arguments, Tatum discussed various issues with the prosecution’s case, mainly the lack of confirmed details by the victim during her testimony. He also said the prosecution failed to prove the assault could have happened in the time frame in which they said it had occurred.
Martin pleaded with White to focus on the impact it had on the victim and her response to the event as evidence of wrongdoing. She also pointed to the testimony of the various officers and counselors, who believed the victim because of her consistent story.