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Texas man accused of kidnapping, torturing former neighbor

February 14, 2012 |  4:44 pm

Prosecutors say a North Texas woman's former neighbor kidnapped her, burned down her house, chained her to a bed and tortured her with a deer-skinning device.

Jeffrey Allan Maxwell's trial began Tuesday in Weatherford, about 30 miles west of Fort Worth. Maxwell, 59, of Corsicana faces a possible life sentence if convicted of aggravated kidnapping and aggravated sexual assault.

Apparently the woman, who lives in Whitt, about 50 miles west of Fort Worth, had refused Maxwell's advances when they were neighbors, KWTX reported.

Prosecutor Kathleen Catania told jurors the woman's DNA was found in Maxwell's car and house after he was arrested, according to the Associated Press. Catania said Maxwell kidnapped the woman from her home at gunpoint March 1 and drove her to his house, about 100 miles away and 75 miles southeast of Fort Worth, where he held her for 12 days.

Maxwell told an investigator that after he took the woman back to his house, he "strung her up" in his garage on a homemade rack used for skinning deer, according to court records cited by the Associated Press.

When Maxwell would leave to do errands, he would store the woman in a box, Catania told the court.

Strangely, the woman initially said family members were trying to kill her, but later told investigators Maxwell hit her with a rolling pin and pulled a gun on her while taking her from her house, according to court testimony reported by the Weatherford Democrat.

“He forced me in the house so he could tie me up and put me in his vehicle,” the woman said after Sgt. Ricky Montgomery of the Parker County Sheriff’s Office pressed her about what happened.

The woman said she found out her house had burned down while watching the news with Maxwell, who told her the house needed to be burned to get rid of his fingerprints, according to the Weatherford Democrat.

Maxwell has also been investigated on suspicion of involvement in the disappearance of his ex-wife, Martha Martinez Maxwell, missing since 1992. Maxwell first went missing in 1987 and was later found beaten with her throat cut near Ardmore, Okla. She survived and Jeffrey Maxwell was charged with aggravated kidnapping, but a grand jury declined to indict him, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.


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Photo: Jeffrey Allan Maxwell enters Judge Trey Loftin's Weatherford, Texas, courtroom on Tuesday. Maxwell, 59, is charged with aggravated kidnapping and two counts of aggravated sexual assault. Credit: Ron T. Ennis / Fort Worth Star-Telegram.