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Archive for Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Victims testify of burglaries, sexual battery

Preliminary hearing revisits neighborhood’s late-night crimes

September 17, 2003

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The victims were sound asleep at the time the crimes started, roughly a year and a half ago.

But victims in a series of burglaries and an alleged sexual assault in a west side neighborhood took the stand in a court hearing Monday and tried to recall details of the early-morning crimes.

It was the first day of the preliminary hearing for a 20-year-old Lawrence resident charged with aggravated sexual battery, two counts of aggravated burglary, two counts of theft and two counts of attempted burglary. The incidents happened in April and May 2002 at apartments and townhomes near the intersection of Clinton Parkway and Kasold Drive. The preliminary hearing continues next month.

A 24-year-old woman testified Monday that one night in early May 2002 -- prosecutors say it was May 2, but she's not sure of the date -- she woke up at her apartment in the 3700 block of West 24th Street with a stranger in her bed. She said the stranger made her put her hand on him, told her he had a knife and threatened to kill her if she moved.

The woman eventually pushed the man off her, and he left.

Police arrested a suspect on May 16 after an officer who was staking out the area saw a man looking in a window and trying to open a door at two townhomes in the 3500 block of West 22nd Street. The woman later picked him out of a photo lineup, but she acknowledged Monday that she wasn't sure of her choice at the time.

"I didn't think I had a clear picture of his face, but I had an idea," she said.

Another woman who lived in the 3500 block of West 22nd Street testified Monday that she woke up on a night in late April 2002 and saw a man standing at her bedroom door. He left after she asked him, "Can I help you?" and the next morning she found money missing from her purse in another room.

The woman said she was unable to identify anyone from a photo lineup.

The suspect maintains his innocence, and often shook his head or grimaced at testimony Monday. Prosecutors dismissed charges against him a year ago, and Dist. Atty. Christine Kenney said it was because a witness was unavailable.

Kenney's office refiled the charges in late July.

The hearing resumes Oct. 6.

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