Terry McIntyre's trial on rape and robbery charges opened Monday with both sides girding themselves for a battle about DNA evidence.
McIntyre, 40, Kansas City, Kan., is charged in Douglas County District Court with rape, aggravated criminal sodomy, aggravated robbery, aggravated kidnapping and kidnapping in a July 1999 incident at Payless ShoeSource, 3231 Iowa.
Assistant Douglas County Dist. Atty. Jerry Little told jurors that genetic testing directly links McIntyre to the rape.
"You're going to hear about the most powerful, the most accurate, the most reliable form of identification known to man: DNA evidence," he said.
But defense attorney James Rumsey challenged Little's claims telling jurors the forensic evidence can't prove McIntyre's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
"DNA is not exact," he said. "They're trying to make a comparison, an estimate. Not an exact match, because it can't be done."
Prosecutors have pinned their hopes on the DNA evidence. Only one of the two shoe store clerks was able to identify McIntyre as the robber and then only after initially picking another man from a lineup.
The two young women testified about the robbery Monday.
The woman in charge of the store that night said the business had just closed when she noticed that a person was in the men's bathroom. She went to try to call 911 when the man came out.
"I asked him if he needed help," she said. "He said he was just leaving."
But the man pulled a gun when she went to open the front door, she said. She and a newer employee were taken to the back of the store, where she filled a bag with approximately $1,500.
The robber then ordered her to the women's bathroom. He then turned his attention to the newer employee.
"I went to follow (the manager) into the bathroom and he grabbed me by the hair," the newer employee said Monday.
The robber took her back into the main area of the store, asking her to give him more money. There was none, she said.
"He pulled up the back of my dress, and after he let it down, he asked if I wanted to live," the woman said.
"And your response?" asked Douglas County Dist. Atty. Christine Kenney Tonkovich.
"Yes," the employee said.
She said the man then sodomized and raped her, forcing her to cover her face with her hands so she couldn't see his face.
Before Monday afternoon's testimony, an all-white jury of six men and six women was chosen to hear the case.
Two alternate jurors also were selected to listen to evidence.
And in a rare move, District Judge Paula Martin provided legal pads and pens to jurors so they can take notes throughout the trial. The notes will be destroyed following the trial, she said.
Testimony is to resume at 9 a.m. today, and the trial is scheduled to last through the week.