It took a jury two hours Wednesday to reach a unanimous verdict in the trial of Steven Terry “Dewey” Jordan. He was found guilty of rape, aggravated burglary and criminal damage to property in a crime that occurred in 2013.
This was the second time a Barton County jury reached this verdict.
During a jury trial in 2015, Barton County Attorney Douglas A. Matthews and Assistant County Attorney Amy Mellor presented evidence and witnesses to show that around 1:30 a.m. on Feb. 6, 2013, Jordan went to a house in the 1100 block of Morphy Street in Great Bend, broke the dead-bolt on the wooden front door, entered and raped a 22-year-old woman. She was 11 weeks pregnant at the time.
That woman, now the mother of a 6-year-old child, testified again this week as Jordan, now 50 years old, received a new trial.
The previous conviction was set aside last year by the Kansas Court of Appeals, which found that Barton County District Judge Ron Svaty erred when he did not allow Jordan to present evidence that supported his theory of defense.
The defense in 2013 did present a case in which it alleged the victim lied to police and to the jury about having consensual sex with the Jordan. Jordan said people had told him the woman was a “dope whore,” and that she agreed to have sex in exchange for $20 cash and a gram of methamphetamine, worth $50 on the street. He claimed the sex was consensual but that he had not paid her afterward as promised. Because she was angry about that and feared that Jordan would tell her boyfriend, he claimed she lied to the police.
However, Jordan argued that the district court violated his constitutional right to present his theory of defense by excluding relevant evidence; he was not allowed to present evidence of the woman’s prior drug use.
The Court of Appeals agreed and published an opinion on Jan. 12, 2018, stating, “Because we agree that Jordan was denied his right to present his defense, we reverse his convictions, vacate his sentences, and remand for a new trial.”
Svaty also sentenced Jordan to more than 50 years in prison, but Jordan will have a new sentencing hearing at 1 p.m. on Jan. 24. Barton County District Judge Carey Hipp presided over the new trial and scheduled the sentencing at the conclusion of the trial on Wednesday. The trial began Monday and was scheduled to go four days, but was completed in three.
This time, the State was represented by Pawnee County Attorney Doug McNett and Jordan was defended by Hutchinson attorney Shannon Crane. The jury heard from 15 State’s witnesses and four defense witnesses, including Jordan.
In his closing arguments to the jury Wednesday afternoon, McNett replayed the victim’s 911 call. She is sobbing as she says “some big black guy with a knife broke through my front door and raped me.” She said she did not know her attacker, but after talking to a neighbor the next day she told police she thought she had a name, “Dewey.” Detective Heather Smith put together a lineup of six photos and the victim identified him from the lineup. She also went to the Emergency Room at Great Bend Regional Hospital that night and underwent an examination by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner who collected evidence, including DNA which turned out to be Jordan’s.
Jordan was living with his mother, in sight of the house the victim rented, and McNett said he would have seen that she was alone before he broke into the house.