Archive for Thursday, May 7, 2009

Defendant denies raping KU student in 1997; defense attorney tries to call prosecutor to stand

May 7, 2009, 11:06 a.m. Updated May 7, 2009, 6:43 p.m.


The defendant in an ongoing rape trial in Douglas County District Court took the stand Thursday and denied that he raped a Kansas University student in 1997.

The man is charged with one count of rape, accused of kidnapping the woman at gunpoint in the parking lot of Naismith Hall, driving her to a secluded area near the tennis courts at Lawrence High School, 1901 La., and raping her.

The 36-year-old man, who is missing a finger on his right hand from a farming accident as a child, tried on a pair of work gloves, demonstrating to jurors what a normal pair of gloves looked like on a man with only three fingers and a thumb.

The defense’s first witness Thursday morning had been the defendant’s mother, who said the defendant was 10 or 11 years old when he got his hand stuck in an auger grinder on the family farm.

The victim, who was 20 at the time of the assault, testified earlier in the trial that during the attack the suspect was wearing gloves. But she also testified that when the suspect approached her in the dorm parking lot, he was holding a handgun and not wearing the gloves at that time.

The victim’s description of her attacker to police did not include any distinguishing marks on the suspect’s hand. The defendant testified that in addition to the missing finger, he’s missing several knuckles and pieces of bone and has significant scarring on the top of his hand.

The defendant testified that he did not own a handgun in 1997, only rifles and shotguns used for hunting.

Prosecutors on Wednesday had presented evidence showing the defendant’s DNA was found on the victim. The defendant testified that in 1997 he was involved in the “bar scene” in Lawrence and would occasionally have one-night stands with women, whose names he couldn’t always remember.

The defendant said he had consensual sex with the victim the night before the attack in the parking lot of a Lawrence bar.

“I recognized her from the preliminary hearing as someone I’d had sex with,” he said.

An unusual development unfolded at the conclusion of testimony Thursday. Defense Attorney Jessica Travis served a subpoena on Chief Assistant District Attorney Amy McGowan, who is prosecuting the case.

Travis wants to call McGowan to the witness stand to testify about when she knew the victim in the case could identify the defendant as the man who raped her and about statements McGowan made prior to the preliminary hearing in the case in January 2008.

Judge Peggy Kittel ruled McGowan is not a witness in the case, called a recess and ordered the trial to resume at 9 a.m. today.

The Journal-World generally does not identify the suspect in a sex crime unless there is a conviction.


tolawdjk 9 years, 1 month ago

That defense sounds about as solid and lock tight as the "Wookie" defense.

Cait McKnelly 9 years, 1 month ago

They're definitely going to have a hard time getting around the fingerprints and DNA.

kugrad 9 years, 1 month ago

According to the article in the print copy of the LJW today, his DNA was found in her underwear and his prints are on her car. If he can explain that, then let's hear it. Otherwise, lock the guy up. There's no weasling out of DNA unless you are a famous celebrity.

sinverguenza 9 years, 1 month ago

Boy, one-night stands suddenly don't seem as appealing any more. Ick.

somebodynew 9 years, 1 month ago

OK, with the latest update, I am just totally confused and thinking the defense must be completely beyond desparate. I have never heard of something like this DURING a trial. In addition, the Judge already had a "mini" hearing about this issue outside the presense of the jury and made a ruling. If Travis wanted McGowan to testify, shouldn't it have been then, not at the end of the case???

I'm not an attorney and didn't stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but have been around some trials before and this is just bizarre !!

ksdivakat 9 years, 1 month ago

In an interesting twist.....if you google this guy, it tells you that he has a "Agg Vehicular homicide" conviction and this is why he was in jail in JO CO on "unrelated charges" Sure sounds like a great guy doesnt he???

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