ninethThe time had come. Right after lunch, the prosecution called Jane Doe to the stand. One of the baliff’s went to the two large doors which led to the common area. The bailiff escorted Jane Doe to the stand. I recognized her immediately. She was the young black woman who had been texting on her smart phone.

She took the oath to tell truth and sat down. She was visibly shaking. She fought to maintain her composure as the prosecutor began to question her. As the questions came, one after the other I glanced over at the defendant. He stared down at the table he sat behind. He never looked up. He never looked at her. His face was expressionless. He showed no emotion.

WARNING:THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS THE GRAPHIC DESCRIPTION OF A RAPE. SOME OF THIS MAY BE UPSETTING TO SOME, MAINLY ANY JANE DOE WHO HAS HAD A SIMILAR EXPERIENCE.

As the prosecutor began to ask Jane Doe to describe the rape, she became increasingly upset. The prosecutor asked her to identify her attacker. She pointed toward the defendant and described the clothing he was wearing. She began to shake. The tears flowed down her young face. She would look down. The judge interrupted and asked her if she need time to regain her composure. She nodded yes. The judge ordered a recess and we all left the courtroom.

Through the prosecutors questioning, she told how she had known the defendant for years. She told how they had been close friends. They would hang out, go jogging together. They would do the things that friends do together.

They were not boyfriend and girl friend. There had never been a physical relationship between them. No sex. She told of her illness and how he would come to the hospital and comfort her.

She then went into detail about the events that led up to the rape. The defendant, along with mutual friends had been invited by her to come to her apartment and watch tv. The defendant showed up. The friends did not. She was not concerned. She trusted the defendant. She was comfortable being alone with him. They sat on the small sofa and watched tv.

The defendant began to talk about his relationship with his fiance. He began to tell of his frustration with the fact that he was not able to have sex with his fiance recently. She was not interested, not in the mood, Jane Doe would remind the defendant several times that she did not want to have sex. His fiance was her close friend. She did not want to hurt her. Jane Doe also told him that she was not feeling well. She was still recovering from a recent stay in the hospital.

They became engrossed in the tv program they were watching. She was semi inclined on the sofa. Her left arm behind her neck, the other she used to drink a soda that was on a small table nearby. She had not noticed that the defendant had got off and left.

Because her attention was focused she had not noticed that the defendant had returned. He had undressed. He was naked. Before she could react, he was on top of her. He held her right arm over her head. With his free hand, he removed her jogging shorts and panties. She was speechless, she was in shock.

Jane Joe was crying profusely, taking sheet after sheet of tissue from the box in front of her, trying to wipe the tears of sadness and hurt from her face. The defendant continued to look down. He did not move, he did not react.

She described how he placed himself on top of her and in graphic detail recounted the moment when the sexual battery occurred. We the jury had heard this before, in graphic detail, during the opening arguments. It was different hearing the account from Jane Doe. It hit home. I saw the hurt, despair and the pain she was suffering as she described what someone she had considered a long time friend had done to her.

The rape was short. It lasted less than a minute. The defendant had noticed her crying and realized what he had done. He stopped, quietly got up, got dressed and left without saying a word. He did not say he was sorry, he did not say a word. He simply left.

She lived alone. There was nobody she could tell, right away, what happened to her. She did not call the police. She remained in her apartment, alone, going through the swirl of emotions over what had just been done to her. She felt ashamed. She felt dirty. She eventually took a shower and went to bed. She tried to sleep but sleep would not come.

The next day, she started getting text messages, it was the defendant. She did not answer the texts at first. When the defendant started sending her messages to her Facebook page, she did not answer him. A few days went by. By this time she had confided in a few close friends. They told her to call the police. They told her to tell her mother. She refused. She kept refusing until the friends gave her an ultimatum.

Tell her mother about what happened or they would. She told her mother. Her mother called the police.

Then the prosecutor asked her about a call she made to the defendant. It was a call she made while a Sheriff’s deputy listened to it. The detective had briefed her as to what to say and what questions to be asked.

The prosecutor then took a cd and asked it to be marked as states exhibit “…” He then placed the cd into the lap top on the podium and the recording of the call was played.

I have heard similar such recordings played in a courtroom while watching live coverage of a trial. Over the years I have sat in the public viewing areas of a courtroom and listened to recordings that had been made. Nothing, however, compares to listening to a rape survivor, as a juror, talk to her attacker, less than a week after the rape happened, watching her reaction as she listened to her words and to his words.

The defendant looked down at his table. He did not look up. He did not look at her. He did not react. He looked down while his words, while her words, filled the courtroom.

We all listened in silence as she pleaded with him for answers to her questions. How could he do this to her. They had been friends. She knew his fiance. She was soft spoken in the call the same way she was on the stand. She did not shout, she did not scream. She did not raise her voice. She talked to him.

He talked back. The shame in his voice. The concern for himself in his voice. He offered an excuse. He had been drinking before he came to the apartment. He had been frustrated because of the problems with his fiance. At one point he had started to leave, but did not. He said that he wished he would have left. He said that he had been in consoling. He was trying to understand why he did what he did.

The recording ended. The prosecutor asked a few more questions. Then the prosecutor asked her one last question, “Do you still consider the defendant your friend.

Her answer?

“No”

To be continued:

Stay tuned

MURT

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