Donald Scott Wiswall to be sentenced next month

Man found guilty of multiple sexual battery counts

Posted

Jurors returned guilty verdicts in six out of eight charges in the case of The State vs. Donald Scott Wiswall in Bartow Superior Court Wednesday afternoon. 

Wiswall was found guilty of two counts of aggravated sexual battery, one count of sexual battery, one count of aggravated assault, one count of battery and one count of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. He was found not guilty on one count of aggravated sexual battery and one count of sexual battery.

According to a bill of indictment, Wiswall sexually penetrated the then-20-year-old female victim with his fingers on or about July 30, 2015. Per the victim's testimony, Wiswall brandished a 9 millimeter semiautomatic pistol during the incident and threatened to shoot both the victim and her sleeping boyfriend at the Avonlea Highlands apartment complex in Cartersville.

On the witness stand, the victim said she and her then-boyfriend met Wiswall at a local bar and allowed him to stay at their residence until someone else could pick him up. 

After her boyfriend, who had been drinking heavily throughout the night, passed out, the victim said Wiswall began knocking on her bedroom door. He asked her to step outside to write down her address; that's when she said he punched her in the face and began to force himself on her.

The victim said she fled the apartment after Wiswall, who had also consumed a large amount of alcohol throughout the night and early morning, seemingly passed out. She called the police using the phone of someone she flagged down in the complex parking lot. 

Police investigators noted the victim had large swelling on her forehead and a lacerated lip when they arrived on scene. A sexual assault nurse examiner at the Sexual Assault Center of Northwest Georgia also said the victim's injuries were consistent with her testimony.

Defense attorney Karen Pass was critical of the victim's accounts of the event, citing what she considered inconsistencies in statements she made to police and sexual assault examiners.

"There is a lot of reasonable doubt in this case," she said. "Her story changed. Almost everything she said changed."

Pass accused the victim of ripping apart several alarms in her own apartment, told jurors she believed the victim's boyfriend was the one responsible for her injuries and said that she believed the victim and her then-boyfriend "fabricated" the crime scene.

"I think somebody staged the bullets," Pass said. "She was cheating on her boyfriend and she got caught."

Cherokee Judicial Circuit Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth York dismissed those accusations of collusion, as well as Pass' claims that the victim was an unreliable witness.

"The state would argue that there's certainly evidence, enough for us to move forward with the jury, connected in terms of what they believe happened that night," she said. "We think we've met the [requirements] for 'beyond a reasonable doubt.'"

Wiswall, who was not present in the courtroom for the reading of the verdict, is tentatively scheduled to be sentenced on July 10.