Marion Gavin, a 39-year-old Palm Coast resident of Poinciana Lane, was jailed Monday on an accusation of raping a physically impaired person, the result of as two-year investigation that completed last year, but that did not result in Gavin’s arrest until this week. The alleged victim was at the time a 21-year-old resident of Palm Coast.
A charging affidavit was completed 13 months ago and the charges forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office. And Gavin was arrested on a disorderly intoxication charge on Aug. 23, and released on $500 bond. But he was not booked on the rape charge until Monday evening just before 8 p.m. He remains at the county jail on $20,000 bond.
The case rests on DNA evidence tying Gavin to semen from a rape kit the alleged Palm Coast victim completed two days after the incident, which involved an encounter with two men in April 2011. The woman had not known either men until she’d met one of them, called Maurice Lloyd, who’d worked with her father for five years.
The alleged victim worked at Walmart in St. Augustine. She’d worked all day that Friday. She received a call from Lloyd during her lunch break, and a text afterward. “Are we drinking or what?” Lloyd had asked her. She agreed to meet but said she’d have to make it a short evening because she had to get to work early the next day. Lloyd said he’d bring his cousin—Marion Gavin—whom the woman had never met.
The two men arrived at the victim’s house at close to 10 p.m. that Friday evening with a 12-pack of light beer and a bottle of tequila. The victim’s roommate was still at the house, where two children also lived. The children were not present at the time of the alleged incident, according to the police report.
The trio drank together and made small talk. The two men urged the woman to go out with them to a bar. She refused at first but was finally convinced to go along. She told cops she had three shots of tequila before leaving the house. The trio went to McCharacter’s on Palm Coast Parkway. They had a few more drinks. At one point she and Gavin sat outside, and Gavin broached the subject of race, asking her if she had an issue with his being black. “She said she explained to him that she doesn’t have a problem with anyone unless they do something to her,” the police report states. “She said she thinks he took her comment wrong and got irritated with her.
Lloyd, who’d gone to his car to retrieve cigarettes, then rejoined the woman and Gavin, and the three talked some more. “Whatever happens here stays between us,” Lloyd told the woman. “You can’t tell your baby’s daddy or your dad.” Lloyd also commented about her physical appearance, using coarse language, and said something along the lines of “you’re with me,” according to the police report. The last thing the woman remembers is going back to the pool room and shooting pool. Next thing she remembered was waking up at 9 a.m. the next day.
She could not remember leaving McCharacter’s. When she woke up, her sheets were off the bed, her pants were on the floor with the underwear she’d been wearing still in the pants. Her belt was broken. A condom wrapper was on her bed along with an apparently unused condom. “The light was unplugged, which she found to be odd,” the report states. She found her hair tie just inside the front door, on the floor. She found herself wearing a pair of boxers and the shirt and bra from the night before. Her boxers were soaked. She found one empty bottle of beer in her bedroom, with the cap off, and another bottle with barely a sip gone, with the cap back on. The previous night, she’d remembered Gavin talking about how he put the cap back on his beer bottles.
She became ill in the morning, vomiting in the shower and on her way to work. She could not figure out what had taken place. The next day she felt pain in her lower abdomen and vaginal area. At work, she told her boss what had happened. He told her to go to the hospital right away. She went to Flagler Hospital in St. Augustine, where a sexual assault nurse examiner conducted a rape examination and completed a rape kit.
A detective interviewed her and took evidence of texting. Her roommate told police that she’d spoken with Lloyd by phone and that he described the woman as throwing up on the way back from the bar, and that he and Gavin had to clean her up, her clothes and her sheets. Lloyd said that he left the victim’s room to take a call from his wife, but he also said he’d spoken with Gavin, who told him no sex had taken place. Over the next few days a sheriff’s investigator tried to conduct “controlled phone calls” to Gavin’s phone number, but at first the number would not answer, then the line was said to be disconnected.
The investigator was able to track down Gavin at work, but there, Gavin said he’d have to talk to his attorney before speaking. At the time, Gavin retained the services of Melissa Moore-Stens, who would subsequently be elected county judge and have to pass the case to another attorney. When Gavin was placed in a line-up, the alleged victim pointed at him, but was nevertheless not able to positively identify him, saying she’d only seen him once.
But she wanted to pursue the case.
By then the rape kit evidence had been sent to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. There is a gap in the narrative, according to the police report, between July 2011 and April 2013, when another detective was assigned the case. At that point, the new detective found that evidence had been obtained from the FDLE crime lab, but that no DNA test had been conducted toi determine whether the evidence could be tied to either of the two men who’d been with the woman that night two years earlier.
Neither men responded to the request for a voluntary DNA test, when contacted through their attorneys. In May, the detective obtained a search warrant to obtain a DNA swab from Gavin. Gavin was served the warrant at work, and the swab was conducted.
The FDLE tied the DNA to the rape kit evidence, and to the two beer bottles that had been found in the alleged victim’s bedroom. The charge was filed with the court on Sept. 12, 2013. On Sep. 8 this year, the charge was amended to include the victim’s “special conditions.” The warrant for Gavin’s arrest was issued in mid-September–a capias warrant, meaning that Gavin had failed to appear on a prior request.
The charge Gavin faces is a first-degree felony, which carries a potential prison term of up to 30 years, if convicted.