Jurors acquitted a man Tuesday on accusations he kidnapped and robbed a woman in 2013, but they convicted him of misdemeanor battery.
Tavarous Dewayne Samples, 36, was sentenced to six months in prison by Floyd County Superior Court Judge Jack Niedrach. He’s already served 44 days of that sentence, officials said.
“We’re glad that the jury acquitted him of the major felonies,” said Chris Twyman, his defense attorney. “My client is happy to be moving forward with his life and getting this behind him.”
The charges stemmed from an Aug. 8, 2013, altercation involving Tieka Tawanna Daniel, the mother of his child.
Prosecutors accused Samples of kidnapping Daniel and holding her against her will.
They said he also threatened and assaulted her with a gun, robbing Daniel of her cellphone before she jumped from his moving vehicle.
Daniel recanted shortly after making the accusations and did so again on the witness stand.
Jurors acquitted Samples on two counts each of kidnapping and possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime and one count each of false imprisonment, aggravated assault, terroristic threats and acts, influencing a witness, battery, robbery and obstruction of a 911 call.
One of the kidnapping charges, which alleged the victim was hurt, carried a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment.
Assistant District Attorney Hal Goldin thanked jurors for giving the case their careful consideration.
“They had a limited amount of evidence they could consider,” Goldin added.
Goldin and Twyman verbally sparred Tuesday, basing their arguments on whether jurors should believe Daniel’s first story about the robbery and kidnapping or her later statement in which she recanted the allegations.
Goldin said Samples and Daniel had an abusive relationship that led to the kidnapping, assault and robbery. Twyman said Daniel’s story was fabricated out of anger because Samples was dating two women at once.
“She does love him and she is willing to put up with whatever in her life to have him,” Goldin said. “You’ve got conflicting evidence here.”
Prosecutors said Samples kidnapped Daniel and held her against her will before she escaped. A police detective found Daniel that night and interviewed her. Daniel later changed her story, leading authorities to accuse Samples of influencing her.
Daniel has three small children and depends on Samples for financial support, Goldin said.
“That’s why we have statement, recant, statement, recant,” he said.
Goldin asked jurors to examine pictures showing Daniel’s injuries that night. She had cuts on her face and some of her hair had been pulled out. Additionally, Daniel told a detective she feared to leave the police station after an interview because of Samples.
“There was evidence,” Goldin said. “There was no reason to doubt this woman at the time the complaint was made.”
Twyman said Daniel lied initially because Samples had another woman in his life. Samples wanted to go out Aug. 8, 2013, and Daniel wanted him to stay. That conflict led to a false story that landed his client behind bars.
Twyman noted that Daniel took Samples’ keys as he tried to leave her sister’s home, making her the aggressor in the ensuing fight. Samples later retrieved his keys and accelerated away from Daniel as she tried to open the car door from outside.
Daniel got inside the car and went to Samples’ Silver Creek home. She then wanted to return to her home, but Samples refused and instead started driving to her mother’s house.
Daniel testified Monday that she jumped from Samples’ moving car as he drove in the area of Dodd Boulevard. A detective later found Daniel, who gave police an interview.
“Ms. Daniel tells (police) one story that night,” Twyman said. “She didn’t call police. There is no 911 call in evidence.”
Holding letters Daniel wrote to Samples in jail, Twyman asked jurors to look at what Daniel said when no authorities watched.
“‘I’m sorry I lied to you. I shouldn’t have told that lie,’” Twyman read. “When nobody was watching, she told the truth. When the police aren’t looking, she’s writing letters and continuing the consensual relationship.”