Robbery suspect indicted in rape

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 23, 2002

Beeline store #690 robbery suspect John M. Bethel has been indicted on rape first charge stemming from a Jan. 9 rape of a 15-year-old girl.

A Dallas County grand jury handed down the indictment this week along with 81 other indictments in Selma and Dallas County.

At the time of the alleged rape, Bethel had been charged with two counts of armed robbery at the Beeline store on Jeff Davis. He robbed the store twice in one month, said police.

According to police reports, Bethel allegedly snatched the girl off her bike at the Texaco store on the corner of Broad Street and L. L. Anderson, then dragged her to a nearby vacant house and raped her.

The victim had gone to the store to buy some snacks and was approached by the suspect, once she was outside.

Bethel contends he is innocent and the victim has mistaken him for someone else.

But during testimony in a preliminary hearing last month, the victim adamantly identified Bethel as the person who raped her.

The victim testified that she tried to get away, but the suspect caught her from behind and told her he would “snap her neck if she didn’t be quiet.”

District Attorney Ed Greene said his office will vigorously pursue this case, adding Bethel is a dangerous man and should remain off the streets.

Bethel is currently in the Dallas County Jail under a $20,000 bond for the rape charge. He is also awaiting trial for the two robbery charges.