Army veteran says Lakeway man spiked drink, raped him


1 p.m. A 30-year-old man testified Tuesday that he grew disoriented and laid down in bed after defendant Saffa Bell insisted he drink from a margarita he made for him.

The man said the loopy feeling he felt was far different from intoxication from alcohol, leading him to believe Bell spiked the drink with a date rape drug.

When the man came to, he said his pants were down and Bell was performing oral sex on him. He said he got up and ran outside of the Champion Drive home that Bell lived in.

Bell, who worked construction jobs with the man, arrived to court from jail in a blue suit and with shorter hair than he had at the time of his arrest. He pleaded not guilty. If convicted of sexual assault, he’ll be given an automatic life sentence.

A woman down the street testified that the alleged victim, who is going by the pseudonym Tom Jones, knocked on her door and rang the door bell after 1 a.m. on Sept. 18, 2015. When she answered, she said he pleaded to turn on the lights outside of the home. She said he acted strangely, dancing and not communicating. She said she thought he was high on drugs.

The man testified that he is an Army veteran who is married with a kid. He had been living in Austin for less than a week before the attack, he said.

Prosecutors said evidence will show a rape test revealed a chemical in the man’s urine.

Earlier: A Lakeway man faces an automatic life sentence if he’s found guilty at his sexual assault trial this week in Travis County state district court.

Saffa Bell, 55, is accused of assaulting a work acquaintance after drugging the man’s drink when the two were hanging out at a Champion Drive residence in September 2015. The man told police he woke up to Bell performing oral sex on him.

If he’s convicted, Bell will be sentenced to life in prison, a punishment triggered by a 1989 incident in Harris County in which Bell was convicted of burglary of a habitation with intent to commit sexual assault.

Bell has two additional unrelated sexual assault cases pending in Travis County, including a 2013 encounter in which a woman told police she woke up disoriented and believes she was assaulted.

This is a developing story; check back for details.



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