NEW BOSTON, Texas -- The state rested its case Wednesday in the trial of a Texarkana man accused of fathering a child at 39 with a girl who was 14 when she gave birth.
Multiple witnesses testified Wednesday that they have been threatened or offered money to give testimony that might help Christopher Jeff Langston, 47, avoid a child sexual assault conviction. Many of the witnesses' names are being withheld to protect the identities of Langston's alleged victims and because of alleged threats.
Langston is being tried this week for abuse involving a now 22-year-old woman who gave birth to Langston's child in August 2014. Other charges involving other alleged teen victims are pending.
The 22-year-old woman testified that she met Langston when she was 12 at a time when her mother was struggling with a drug addiction and often couldn't provide adequate food and clothing. Langston has a history of drug-related convictions.
"The speculation was that your mom was trading you for drugs but you don't want to believe that is what was going on," First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp asked the woman.
"Yes ma'am," she replied.
The alleged victim testified she was 12 when Langston began buying her food, clothes and school supplies and that he quickly initiated sexual contact with her. She recalled being offered ice cream before the first occurrence of sexual abuse. At some point, the alleged victim's mother allowed her to live in Langston's home.
When Langston learned she was pregnant, he allegedly told her to identify someone else as the father.
"He said you've got to try to pin it on somebody else because we can't tell nobody," the 22-year-old testified.
Crisp introduced handwritten letters penned by Langston while he was being held in the Bowie County jail in 2015. The letters, dated Feb. 10, 2015, Feb. 27, 2015, and March 5, 2015, were allegedly mailed to the address across the street from where the alleged victim lived. The alleged victim testified that she would retrieve the letters from the neighbor's mailbox but they were eventually discovered and turned over to police by a family member.
While in jail in May 2020, Langston was allegedly recorded on the Bowie County jail phone system telling the woman, "whatever you do don't tell them that's my son."
Texarkana Texas Police Department investigators collected DNA samples from the woman, the child and Langston and submitted them for testing. DNA analyst Kendra Ortega testified under questioning from Assistant District Attorney Bradley Akin that Langston is statistically more likely to be the baby's father than more than 99.99% of the population.
The 22-year-old woman testified that Langston has repeatedly asked her to contact authorities and abandon prosecution of the case.
"He says I'm the only one who can help him out," the woman testified.
Some of the calls allegedly came from cell phones that had been smuggled into the Bowie County jail. TTPD Sgt. D.E. Evans testified that he was at the woman's home May 27, 2021, in connection with the investigation when she received a cell from call from Langston while he was in custody.
"He was telling her that people are going to get in touch with her about this case and she should not cooperate," Evans testified.
Evans said that the woman has received threatening text messages from random numbers warning her that she should not testify against Langston.
The woman testified that she received messages about the case from unknown numbers Tuesday night and last week.
Langston was indicted in May 2020 by a Bowie County grand jury for sexual assault involving the alleged victim. He was also indicted then on multiple other counts of child sexual assault involving two other girls.
A woman who is now 23 testified that she met Langston at a relative's house when she was 14. Langston allegedly acquired her cell phone number and sent text messages asking for sexual activity in exchange for money.
She testified that Langston molested her on multiple occasions when she was 14.
The 23-year-old woman's brother testified that he was 15 or 16 when he borrowed his sister's phone and saw alarming messages to her from Langston. The brother said he immediately took the phone to his mother.
The mother of the girl testified that she pretended to be her daughter and invited Langston to her house. The mother said Langston claimed it was one of his sons texting the girl but that when she called the number associated with the text messages, "the phone lit up in the car."
The mother said she called the police that night and testified that she was contacted by a girlfriend of Langston's later and offered money to drop the case.
A man who said he has known Langston for many years testified under questioning by Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards that he has been receiving calls and messages about the case from unknown phone numbers.
"Somebody called my phone last night," the man testified.
His identity is being withheld because of alleged threats.
The man said Langston has four or five sons with different women who are also named Christopher Langston and that Langston has 17 or 18 children in total.
He testified that Langston once asked him to use his relationship with an aunt of the 22-year-old to run interference in the case. He said Langston asked him to send a text message from the girl's phone claiming she lied about being the mother of one of Langston's children. He said Langston also asked him to tell a police detective that the mother who testified she confronted Langston outside her home was "setting (Langston) up."
The defense is expected to begin presenting evidence Thursday morning. Once both sides have rested, the jury of seven men and five women will hear closing arguments before deliberating in the guilt or innocence phase of trial.
Langston faces two to 20 years in prison if convicted of sexual assault of a child. He could face an enhanced punishment range of five to 99 or life because of a prior felony conviction. Other charges of sexual assault, witness tampering and possession of contraband in jail remain pending.