A 52-year-old man accused of sexually assaulting and kidnapping a convenience store employee in Athens last year was acquitted of all charges Thursday in Clarke County Superior Court.
The jury deliberated about an hour before returning its verdict on the charges of kidnapping, aggravated sodomy, forcible confinement and assault against Melvin Scott Allison.
At the time of his arrest, Allison was on the homeless list, but Jackson County Sheriff’s Office records show he had previous addresses in Gainesville, Hoschton and Pendergrass.
Allison, who was represented by Assistant Public Defender Rachel Williams, did not testify at trial, and the defense presented no witnesses.
Athens-Clarke Police arrested Allison on February 28, 2021, outside the Howard Johnson Motel on Broad Street, where police say he took the 19-year-old woman after he sexually assaulted her at the convenience store, where she worked alone. .
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Allison was also charged with armed robbery after his arrest, but Detective Daniel Schmidt said he learned this week from a defense attorney that the charge was dismissed.
Western Circuit Assistant District Attorney Tyler Normandia called several police and forensics experts as witnesses, and the woman also testified to what she said happened during the hours where she said she was held against her will by Allison.
The woman testified that she had seen the homeless man at the store before and knew him as “Melvin”, but that night, when she was about to close the store shortly before midnight, Allison came in and forced her into a bathroom.
She testified that Allison pretended to have a gun and that he began making death threats to her before assaulting her. He also forced her to withdraw money from the register and told her to call an Uber driver, warning her not to say anything or he would kill the driver, according to her testimony.
“He looked evil,” she testified of his behavior.
The Uber driver took them to the motel and when checking in, the woman testified that she tried to wave that she needed help, but the motel employee didn’t notice. .
Later that night, the couple called for another return to the convenience store and then returned to the motel, according to reports.
The woman testified that she was “thinking and praying” to find ways to escape, but also did not want to hurt anyone else.
The woman said she managed to escape when they came out of the motel room where Allison wanted to meet someone for drugs. She said she was able to run and close a motel door, and that Allison did not have a key card to access the motel.
She then called 911.
“Please send someone. Please help me,” the woman could be heard saying to the dispatcher during the broadcast call to the jury.
In her final summary to the jury, Normandia called the woman’s plight a “story of survival”.