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SportsEx-NFL star Kellen Winslow's rape trial gets ugly fast with first accuser's testimony

17:36  22 may  2019
17:36  22 may  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

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VISTA, Calif. — In the ongoing rape trial of former NFL star Kellen Winslow II, possibly no other witness is more important to the case against him than the woman who testified here Tuesday.

Her anonymous name in this case is Jane Doe No. 1.

She’s 55 years old, unemployed and testified Tuesday that she was hitchhiking in northern San Diego County in March 2018 when Winslow pulled over, picked her up and raped her in a parking lot after forcing her to perform oral sex on him.

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“He threatened to kill me,” she said Tuesday as Winslow faced her across the courtroom.

But much of her testimony was shaky and sometimes baffling, which doesn't bode well for the government's case against him for several reasons. She's the first accuser to testify, which can influence how the jury sees the rest of the trial. She's also the only one of the three alleged rape victims linked to him through a likely match of DNA evidence in the crotch area. Her account of events last year even led to three of the seven felony counts being faced by Winslow — more felony counts than is alleged by any other alleged victim in the overall case.

Ex-NFL star Kellen Winslow's rape trial gets ugly fast with first accuser's testimony © Provided by USA Today Sports Media Group LLC

It was only the second day of a trial that is expected to last another month and could send Winslow to prison for the rest of his life. But if she's discredited in front of the jury, a big part of the prosecution's case against him could collapse. And that's what Winslow’s attorney, Marc Carlos, tried to do Tuesday when he cross-examined her aggressively.

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He tried to paint a drastically different picture of what happened, following a larger defense strategy that suggests the sex was consensual, not rape, and that the accusers are opportunists possibly looking for money from a famous former football player.

Under questioning from Carlos, the woman said she didn’t scream for help, didn’t try to attract the attention of nearby businesses on a busy Saturday afternoon and didn’t report the incident until four days later.

After Winslow drove her to the parking lot behind a shopping center, she said he tried to coax her into an area on the other side of a fence about five feet tall. That’s where he initially planned to have sexual contact with her, she said. But then after Winslow jumped over the fence first, leaving her on the other side of the fence, she admitted she was free to run back to the shopping center for help. She said she followed Winslow over the fence instead.

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“What you do is you jump over the fence on your own accord?” Carlos asked.

“Yes,” she replied.

She also said Winslow didn’t tear her clothes off of her after she jumped the fence to follow him. She said she started taking her clothes off because “he told me to undress.”

“So you jump over the fence, a five-foot fence, over to the guy that’s threatening to kill you, that threatened to rape you. You take your own clothes off,” Carlos said to the witness. “Am I missing something?”

“No, you’re right,” she replied in a nonchalant, unemotional manner that characterized her testimony for most of the day.

San Diego County prosecutor Dan Owens later asked her why she didn’t cry for help.

“I don’t know why,” she said. “I just didn’t say anything.”

Owens reestablished that she was in fear for her life after Winslow allegedly told her he was going to kill her. But Carlos attacked her credibility for most of the day, described her as a liar and established that she had multiple citations for public intoxication after she testified she had been sober for 30 years.

Winslow, 35, has pleaded not guilty and is facing rape charges involving two other women, in addition to Jane Doe No. 1. They are Jane Doe No. 2, who was 59 and homeless last year when she accused him of rape, and Jane Doe No. 4, who said she was raped while unconscious by Winslow in 2003, when she was 17 and Winslow was 19.

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Two other women since last May accused Winslow of misdemeanor indecent exposure and lewd acts in public.

All are part of the same trial, which included graphic testimony Tuesday by Jane Doe No. 1, including about the pain she said she felt during the alleged rape. She told Carlos she thought her assailant was a “terrorist” and mistakenly thought he had a weapon. She also confirmed to Carlos that she made a prior statement to police that she thought “black people always have guns.”

After jumping the fence, she said Winslow, who is African-American, changed his mind about forcing sex on her there. She said they then returned to his vehicle, where she said she performed oral sex on him and then was raped by him in the car. She said it was not consensual and didn’t know who her alleged assailant was until months later. Her allegations led to charges of kidnapping, rape and oral copulation by force.

Last year, Winslow said to a detective that he had consensual sex with Jane Does 1 and 2.

“The defense has wisely opted to turn the tables on the accusers, and will be attacking their credibility solely with regard to consent, not necessarily whether a sexual act did occur,” said San Diego criminal attorney David P. Shapiro, who is not involved in this case.

Jane Doe No. 2 is expected to testify Wednesday. In her case, sperm was found from another man, Winslow’s other attorney, Brian Watkins, told the jury Monday. Owens suggested Monday some DNA evidence was found on her neck that could have been Winslow's but her rape-kit exam didn't produce results related to him.

The jury now has eight men and four women after a male juror was excused from the trial Tuesday because of a sudden issue at his work. A female alternate replaced him.

Follow sports reporter Schrotenboer on Twitter @Schrotenboer. E-mail: [email protected]

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Ex-NFL star Kellen Winslow's rape trial gets ugly fast with first accuser's testimony

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