Sexual assault trial in Liberty County ends in hung jury

Brown, Ethan Thomas

The four-day trial of Ethan Brown, an accused sexual assault suspect, ended on Thursday with a mistrial on one charge and a guilty verdict on a second charge.

While jurors were hopelessly deadlocked on the charge of sexual assault for Brown’s alleged rape of his ex-wife, they found him guilty of violating the terms of a protective order that forbid him from having any contact with his ex-wife and child.

During the period that he was subject to the protective order, Brown sent his young daughter 380-plus letters from jail, some of which the prosecution said included messages that were directed to his ex-wife.

In the trial before 75th State District Judge Mark Morefield, Brown took the witness stand despite being admonished by his own attorney and the court, and admitted to having sex with his ex-wife on Jan. 11 during a visit to her Dayton home and filming her outside her home without her knowledge while she was taking a shower. His ex-wife testified that their last sexual encounter was not consensual and accused him of being a sex addict. Text messages from Brown to his ex-wife, shared in evidence during the trial, involved him discussing or requesting sex.

Ethan Brown (without facial hair)

While on the witness stand, Brown admitted to having numerous affairs during their marriage. His testimony also allowed the prosecution to call rebuttal witnesses who accused him of inappropriately touching them during unwanted sexual advances. One of the witnesses, a female from Montgomery County, testified that Brown raped her in 2012 at his parents’ home in Daisetta after the two met at a nightclub in Spring.

After the alleged rape, the woman contacted the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and submitted to a rape kit in the hopes that DNA would lead to his identity as she was unable to provide authorities with his complete name or an exact location of the attack, other than the general area where his parents lived. For years, the case remained dormant until Brown’s DNA, related to the alleged rape of his wife, was entered into the state database.

Brown now will be retried for the sexual assault of his ex-wife and the sexual assault that occurred in 2012. The trial date has not been set but District Attorney Jennifer Bergman is hoping to prosecute the two cases together in February. Assistant District Attorneys Kayla Herrington and Kevin Barnes will likely remain on the case as prosecutors, Bergman said.

If convicted, Brown faces a sentence of 2 to 20 years for each of the two sexual assault cases. The sentences could be stacked. For the conviction of violating the protective order, Brown was sentenced by the jury to 10 years in state prison and a fine of $10,000.

Specific details about the sexual assaults has been omitted by Bluebonnet News so as not to taint a future jury pool. More details about the accusations will be published following the new trial.

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.


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