Alleged victim finishes testimony in Aspen assault trial
ASPEN – The alleged victim of a sexual assault that happened nearly 15 months ago in Aspen testified Friday that she had difficulty remembering details of the encounter, while the defense spent more than an hour trying to discredit her testimony.
“You’re asking me to remember details from a night a year and half ago when I was traumatized,” the alleged victim told Tina Fang, the public defender for Emanuel Gonzalez-Loujun, who faces kidnapping and sexual assault charges, among other counts.
Fang pressed the alleged victim on numerous details of the night, including what bars she visited, how much alcohol she drank and what she told the suspect during their encounter. The woman offered little details, often citing a lapse in memory.
Fang also asked her if been using cocaine before the alleged attack occurred.
“No,” she replied.
“Have you ever used cocaine?” Fang asked.
Even so, the alleged victim corroborated reports that she invited the suspect to her apartment unit so the two could party with cocaine and marijuana, instead of staying outside of the apartment complex, as the alleged rape occurred.
“You [said you] had a warm bed at your apartment and you can go back and party with these drugs?” Fang said.
“Yes,” the victim replied.
“Some of these things you said while sex was happening?”
“I don’t know.”
In earlier testimony, the alleged victim said that she invited the suspect to her apartment because “I was trying to get away – my escape plan.”
Friday was the second day of testimony in the trial of Gonzalez-Loujun, 22, of Carbondale. He faces five felony charges – including sexual assault, kidnapping, and assault of a police officer – stemming from his alleged transgressions on the morning in question. The most egregious offense is the sexual assault count, which carries a sentence of 16 years to life in prison.
The crimes allegedly occurred the morning of Jan. 17, 2009, outside of the woman’s unit at the Centennial Apartments complex in Aspen.
Yesterday was also the second and final day of testimony for the alleged victim, who recounted Thursday that she had taken the 1:42 bus home from Bentley’s that morning.
After the bus dropped the woman and her roommate off at Centennial, the two went to their unit. Soon after, the male roommate saw Gonzalez-Loujun looking through the window of their apartment, the accuser testified. The roommate went outside, armed with a frying-pan, to find the man. Minutes later, the alleged victim went outside to check on her roommate, but said she was apprehended by Gonzalez-Loujun as she walked down the steps outside of her apartment unit, according to Thursday’s testimony.
On Friday, Fang asked the woman why she did not yell more than she did after she was allegedly abducted. The woman said she called for her roommate during the initial stage of the encounter, and at one point could not yell because the suspect had covered her mouth.
Fang also pressed the woman on where she likes to drink. Fang mentioned local bars such as the Regal (the last bar the woman had visited before the alleged rape), Eric’s and Bad Billy’s. When Fang asked the woman if she was a “fan” of Bad Billy’s, the woman said she did not know.
“On your Facebook page you’re a fan of it,” Fang said.
Members of the 12-member jury panel, which also includes one alternate, posed hand-written questions to the victim, which were read by Judge James Boyd. Such questions were where she started drinking the night she went out and who was out with her that night. The woman said she could not remember.
Also testifying was the alleged victim’s roommate who had gone outside with the frying-pan. The roommate said he encountered the suspect outside the apartment, before the sexual assault had allegedly occurred, and accused him of stealing his snowboard. The two exchanged heated words, the roommate said.
Eventually the roommate saw the snowboard in the middle of the street, where it had been run over by an SUV. The roommate testified that he knew the driver of the SUV, and chatted with the occupants of the vehicle for approximately 5 to 10 minutes. While the roommate was visiting with the occupants was approximately the same time the accuser went outside and was allegedly abducted, according to testimony.
When the roommate returned to the apartment, he noticed that her bedroom door was closed and figured that she was asleep.
The trial is expected to conclude either April 22 or April 23. Prosecutor Arnold Mordkin said he expects to finish with his list of witnesses Tuesday.
Gonzalez-Loujun remains incarcerated in Pitkin County jail on $250,000 bond. He has attended every day of the trial, often taking notes. Some of his family members attended Friday’s hearing.
The police-officer assault charge stems from the suspect allegedly striking officer Leon Murray, the first Aspen officer to encounter Gonzalez-Loujun that morning. Murray was responding to the 911 call that a sexual assault had occurred at the time. After the scuffle, police found 14 bindles of cocaine on the suspect, resulting in felony drug possession and distribution charges. Later that morning, the alleged victim positively identified Gonzalez-Loujun as the rapist while he was in custody, spurring the sexual assault and kidnapping charges.
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