08/25/09 — Godette will face charges in attacks

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Godette will face charges in attacks

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on August 25, 2009 1:46 PM

Christin Ray Godette was 16 years old when the Wayne County Sheriff's Office accused him of a spree of robberies and physical and sexual assaults that spanned over two weekends in September 2007.

Nearly two years later, Godette, now 18, is on trial for alleged crimes in his Elroy neighborhood just west of N.C. 111 South.

Jury selection for Godette's trial began Monday afternoon after he spent the day conferring with his attorney about how to proceed with the case.

This is Godette's second trial this summer, In June, he was acquitted of "severely injuring" a Wayne County Jail employee, but convicted on other offenses, including escaping from a local jail, common law robbery and second-degree kidnapping.

Attorney Robert Smith, who also represented Godette in his first trial, said he and the state began interviewing potential jurors Monday.

"Right now, I'm just trying to make sure my client gets a fair trial," Smith said. "I do not have anything to say right yet about (potential arguments for Godette's defense)."

There were initially 17 counts against Godette, including first-degree burglary, sexual battery and attempted second-degree rape.

Prosecutors and Judge Arnold O. Jones decided to proceed with counts four through 17 in Godette's case, according to court records.

The Sheriff's Office initially accused Godette of beating a woman he knew in Colonial Court one September Sunday during a string of at least five break-ins. He later was accused of a sexual attack on a victim on N.C. 111 South the prior Sunday, according to Sheriff's Office records.

Assistant District Attorneys Paige Rouse and Rusty Perlungher were listed as the potential state's representatives in the case.

The state could potentially call 39 witnesses in the case. Smith said he would probably call none of his own witnesses.

When Godette was first accused of the Colonial Court beating, the Sheriff's Office had not officially connected the 16-year-old with the sexual assault at the N.C. 111 South home.

Sheriff's Office Capt. Tom Effler said DNA evidence later allegedly connected Godette to the crime in July 2008.

Since Godette's arrest, Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders has called him a "predator" and has said "the citizens of Wayne County are much safer with a predator like Godette behind bars."