A Pulaski County jury took 30 minutes Friday to clear James Lee Foley of rape.
Foley, 55, testified that the rape charge was an attempt to frame him to cover up how he had been robbed and attacked by a machete-wielding man at a Thayer Street home in October 2016.
Arrested naked at the scene, Foley was accused of attacking a 69-year-old Russellville woman who was also staying at the residence, the home of a friend, while recuperating from surgery.
A guilty verdict from the six men and six women would have meant an automatic life sentence for the 18-time felon. He told jurors he'd never seen the woman up close before, saying she was too old and unattractive to interest him.
In closing arguments before Circuit Judge Barry Sims, defense attorneys Colleen Kordsmeyer and Joe Tobler derided the police investigation as shabby and rushed.
They said investigators overlooked some evidence, like phone records and potential DNA, while discarding other items, including the woman's nightgown, which was not collected. He asked jurors to weigh whether detectives really cared about the investigation or gave it the value they really thought it deserved.
Foley's story was the only credible account of what had happened, Tobler said.
The accuser and her friend -- Larry Dean Farlow, 48 -- were lying to cover up how Farlow had attacked Foley with a machete, he said.
"They're lying about pretty much everything that happened. What Foley told you made sense," the attorney said.
Foley said he'd been lured to the Capital View neighborhood residence by another tenant -- the woman he loved, Janet "Rose" Glover, 59 -- with the promise of a kinky sex party with a second woman as long as he provided the drugs.
Foley, who had been paroled only a few days earlier, said he was flush with cash because he'd received upon release a $63,000 settlement related to the death of his father. He told jurors he'd spent close to $5,000 on cocaine and marijuana, intending on a weeklong party with Glover and the other woman, whom he knew only as Donna.
Prosecutors Jayme Butts-Hall and Melissa Brown reminded jurors that Foley was the only one in the home that night who didn't live there. They said that Foley had overstayed his welcome with Glover and that when he refused to leave, Glover called on Farlow to get him out of the house. Foley's refusal to go provoked a brawl between the men, which included Farlow hitting Foley with the machete.
The defense's emphasis on the fight was "misdirection" to distract jurors from thinking about how Foley had roughly pinned the woman down and violated her with his fingers after he managed to lock Farlow out of the house, the prosecutors said. Foley kept telling the screaming woman that she liked what he was doing to her, and Farlow was the one who came to the rescue, they said.
"It [the fight] has absolutely nothing to do with the rape," Brown told jurors. "No one wanted him in that house that night. All he had to do was leave, leave the house where he wasn't wanted."
Brown said Foley lied on the stand, focusing on his claim that the woman wasn't even at the home before police arrived. Police found her at the house wearing only her nightgown, the prosecutor noted.
Glover, who was not called as a witness, initially told police that Foley had raped her as well. She told police that she didn't know him well and that he had come to the house to talk about doing some lawn work. She later disclosed that they had had a lengthy intimate relationship.
Metro on 12/01/2018