During a hearing in which he claimed new evidence would prove he’s innocent, a 28-year-old man serving a 22-year prison sentence testified Monday that he did not sexually assault a Lawrence woman in 2006.
“How do you know she lied?” Assistant District Attorney Patrick Hurley asked Jason Ellison on cross-examination during the hearing in Douglas County District Court.
“Because I know that this did not take place,” Ellison said.
Ellison and his defense attorney, Napoleon Crews, are asking Chief District Judge Robert Fairchild to grant him a new trial because they argue several people since the trial say they heard the woman say her allegations about him were not true.
A Douglas County jury in November 2006 convicted Ellison of aggravated sexual battery and acquitted him of attempted aggravated criminal sodomy. According to court records, a sister of Ellison’s former girlfriend in July 2006 accused him of attempting to molest her twice.
Ellison testified Monday he believed the woman made the allegations because he was caught cheating on her sister.
A Kansas Court of Appeals panel has upheld Ellison’s conviction, and the Kansas Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal in 2009. Douglas County prosecutors in a written motion argue the witnesses the defense is relying on are biased toward Ellison and “do not credibly demonstrate new evidence under the legal standard.”
But Crews and Ellison in Monday’s hearing tried to demonstrate the witnesses had closer associations with his accuser than with Ellison.
Sherrie Born testified the woman told her in 2008 she only made the allegations about Ellison because she was afraid he would harm her and her two young nieces. Born said that she had known the woman since she was a small child and that she barely knew Ellison, although Ellison’s sister had married her son.
“I know that he was in prison, and I know that she tends to lie,” Born said.
Kyle L. House, 25, who is Ellison’s stepbrother but also a cousin of the accuser, said he heard the woman say at a July 2009 party in Lawrence that Ellison had not raped her. House is also serving a prison sentence related to a 2010 Douglas County drug case.
The allegations from the witnesses who testified Monday came as part of an investigation by student interns from the Kansas University School of Law’s Paul E. Wilson Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies. The hearing will continue July 25.