At rape trial for former Illinois basketball player, a current KU athlete and a former one testify

photo by: Chris Conde/Journal-World

Former Illinois basketball player Terrence Edward Shannon at his trial on Wednesday June, 12, 2024, in Douglas County District Court.

At a rape trial for a former Illinois basketball player on Wednesday, two athletes more familiar to University of Kansas fans were testifying — current KU basketball player Hunter Dickinson and former KU player Kevin McCullar.

Both players were called as witnesses by defense attorneys for Terrence Edward Shannon, 23, of Champaign, Illinois, who is charged in Douglas County District Court with one felony count of rape or, in the alternative, one felony count of aggravated sexual battery.

Dickinson and McCullar were both at the Jayhawk Cafe, 1340 Ohio St., when the incident is alleged to have occurred on Sept. 9, 2023. Shannon was in Kansas at that time to attend a KU football game against Illinois, and the alleged victim in the case has accused him of grabbing her by the bottom and violating her under her skirt.

In their testimony on Wednesday, neither Dickinson nor McCullar said they saw anything like that happen between Shannon and a woman.

Dickinson testified that it was usual for women to surround the athletes at the bar, and that as far as he could tell, Shannon was in control of himself and was not overly drunk. And McCullar, who testified by videoconference from California, said he was near Shannon the entire night and never saw him interact with any women, but he also said he wasn’t watching Shannon the entire time.

McCullar and Dickinson both said they’d known Shannon for a year or more at the time and considered him a friend; Dickinson said they first met in 2022, and McCullar and Shannon had played together at Texas Tech in 2019.

As the Journal-World reported, much of the first day of testimony had focused on establishing who was near Shannon at the time of the incident. That’s in part because the defense has alleged that a third party — specifically, former University of Kansas basketball player Arterio Morris — may have been responsible for the incident instead. Defense attorney Tricia Bath said Tuesday that Morris had been accused of a similar act involving a different woman only two weeks prior in the same spot in the bar. However, Morris was neither charged nor convicted of a crime related to those allegations. The lead detective in the case had also testified that the woman clearly identified Shannon as the suspect and that he never had a reason to suspect Morris.

Neither McCullar nor Dickinson was asked about Morris on Wednesday.

Two men who traveled with Shannon from Illinois also testified on Wednesday. One was Shannon’s former Illinois teammate Justin Harmon, and the other was DyShawn Hobson, a graduate assistant on the Illinois coaching staff who was Shannon’s roommate at the time. Both said they were close to Shannon all night and did not see Shannon interacting with any women.

The jury also heard testimony on Wednesday from two DNA experts about samples that were taken from the woman’s body and clothing after she reported the incident.

The first one was Jennifer Hewitt, a forensic analyst from the Kansas Bureau of Investigation who analyzed the samples herself. She said there was DNA on some of the swabs taken from the woman’s body and clothing, but that there was too little there to be analyzed substantively.

The second one, called by the defense, was Stephanie Beine, an analyst for Forensic Advising in Missouri. Beine did not analyze the actual samples, but she testified that she did review the KBI reports, and she said the KBI’s standards for what could be analyzed were stricter than what she would use.

Beine testified that she was able to find as many as three unique results for male DNA on a sample taken from the woman’s buttocks. She said that it was difficult to discern one DNA profile from another, but that none of the DNA there was consistent with a DNA sample from Shannon.

A friend of the woman who was with her on the night of the incident also testified on Wednesday. She said she saw Shannon pull the woman across the crowded room to stand next to him, but she did not see any kind of assault occur.

The defense called several other witnesses, including a computer expert who did additional analysis on data from the woman’s phone and her friend’s phone, as well as a private investigator who did additional measurements of the room at the bar where the incident allegedly happened.

The trial, which began with jury selection on Monday and is scheduled to conclude Thursday afternoon, has been followed by numerous media outlets because Shannon is a prospect in the NBA draft that takes place later this month.

The state is being represented by Assistant District Attorney Samantha Foster and Senior Assistant District Attorney Ricardo Leal; Shannon is represented by Bath and Mark Sutter. Shannon is currently free on a $50,000 bond.