James Michael Crayton will like face trial in circuit court following grand jury indictments last week on the charges of first-degree rape A, incest C and a number of charges related to theft from an employer.

Crayton, 49, of Jacksons Gap faces arraignment this week in the courtroom of Fifth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Issac Wharton. Crayton was arrested in Aug. 2019 after a 19-year old relative said she was raped by Crayton.

Crayton told investigators the sexual interaction was consensual. Alexander City Police Department Det. Donald McCook investigated the case after the victim reported the incident just hours after the encounter. McCook testified at a preliminary hearing that Crayton and the victim spoke by phone before the alleged sexual assault.

“She called Mr. Crayton to get help buying some wine coolers,” McCook said. “She got in the car with him. (Crayton) said he had to go somewhere.”

McCook said the pair traveled in Crayton’s vehicle and he pulled off the road.

“(The victim) asked him what he was doing,” McCook said. “(The victim told McCook) he said, ‘You know.’”

McCook said the victim reported Crayton requested she get in the back of the car.

“(The victim) said she didn’t and Crayton grabbed her wrist pulling her to the back of the car,” McCook said.

The victim told McCook Crayton pulled both his and her clothes down and cleaned himself with napkins after the interaction. Those napkins were thrown from the car and investigators recovered them, which were found to have Crayton’s DNA on them.

McCook said the victim started to walk from the scene but realized she was several miles from her car so Crayton gave the victim a ride back to her vehicle.

McCook said the victim texted a friend after the incident and told the friend she had been raped. The friend supported her and told the victim she should tell her parents. McCook said the victim went home, told her parents and reported the incident to police.

McCook said investigators downloaded the phones recovering call information of Crayton and the victim finding the two spoke before the encounter and Crayton called her several times the day after the encounter.

Crayton spoke with McCook during the investigation just prior to his arrest.

“(Crayton) basically said he met (the victim) to give her some money,” McCook said. “(He said) they agreed to go down the road to have sex. He said it was consensual sex.”

Crayton was out of jail on bond facing first-degree rape charges but was arrested again in Feb. 2020 and charged with 20 counts of fraudulent use of a credit card and two counts of illegal possession of credit card.

“He was using a credit card from his employer,” ACPD chief Jay Turner said.

Court documents state Crayton was employed by a local business and used a credit card not in his name at Home Depot 22 times between May 20, 2019 and Sept. 12, 2019.

Two of the charges are from fraudulent use of the credit card on Sept. 10, 2019 and Sept. 12, 2019 after Crayton had bonded out of the Tallapoosa County Jail following an Aug. 15 arrest for first-degree rape.

Crayton is no stranger to law enforcement. In 2012 Crayton pleaded guilty to two counts of possession of a controlled substance and was sentenced to 96 months in jail. In 1998 he pleaded guilty to three counts of possession of a controlled substance and sentenced to 25 years in prison. In 1993 he pleaded guilty to robbery and assault.

Alabama law defines illegal possession of a credit or debit card when a person has possession of the card and does not have the consent of the card owner, he or she takes, exercises control over or otherwise uses the card. Fraudulent use of a credit card is defined as a person using the credit card for the purpose of obtaining property, services or anything else of value with knowledge the card is stolen, revoked or cancelled.

If Crayton is found guilty of first-degree rape, which is a Class A felony, he can face 10 to 99 years in prison. If Crayton is found guilty of fraudulent use of a credit card, which is a Class C felony, he can face one to 10 years in prison. If Crayton is found guilty of illegal possession of a credit card, which is a Class D felony, he can face one to five years in prison.

Crayton is out on bond.

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.

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