Defense seeks evidence suppression in Aspen rape case
ASPEN – The defense team for a man accused of sexually assaulting a woman at Aspen’s Centennial apartments complex is contending the suspect’s constitutional rights were violated the day of his arrest.
Over the course of six hours Thursday, three witnesses in the case of Emanuel Gonzalez-Loujun, 22, testified in Pitkin County District Court as part of an evidence-suppression hearing.
The hearing was continued to Jan. 19, during which time the alleged victim is expected to testify. The alleged victim was scheduled to take the stand Thursday, but did not because of time constraints.
The accuser, who was subpoenaed by the defense to testify, spent the day sequestered inside the courthouse but outside the courtroom, as witnesses are prohibited from hearing others’ testimony.
Gonzalez-Loujun, of Carbondale, faces a possible lifetime behind bars for allegedly sexually assaulting the victim in the early morning hours of Jan. 17, 2009, outside of the apartment complex. Since his arrest, he has been in the custody of the Pitkin County jail on a $250,000 bond.
Authorities believe Gonzalez-Loujun forced the woman to perform at least three sexual acts. They also claim Gonzalez-Loujun dragged her to a snowbank and raped her twice, threatening to kill himself with a gun if she didn’t comply with his demands.
He also has faces felony charges connected to resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer, along with counts of unlawful possession of cocaine and attempted distribution of cocaine.
His public defenders, Stephen McCrohan and Tina Faing, have filed seven motions on which Judge James Boyd will decide.
Three of the motions pertain to evidence suppression, including one that argues Gonzalez-Loujun’s rights were violated the morning he was interrogated at the Pitkin County jail.
“Prior to the interrogation Mr. Gonzalez was not permitted to sleep, use the bathroom or to urinate,” the motion says.
The motion also contends he was not advised of his Miranda rights before the interrogation, and that he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Another motion seeks to suppress statements Gonzalez-Loujun made to sexual assault nurse examiner Carol Began. The defense claims she interrogated the suspect and provided his statements to Aspen police, yet she did not advise him of his Miranda rights.
Began testified in Thursday’s hearing. She said that Gonzalez-Loujun told her “I had a relapse and made some bad choices at the bar.”
The suspect, Began told the court, was “very quiet” during his sexual assault examination, a head-to-toe evaluation the nurse performed more than 12 hours after the alleged rape.
Defense lawyers also want to suppress the alleged victim’s identification of Gonzalez-Loujun because he was not given due process.
They claim that the when the woman identified him as the perpetrator, the procedure was “suggestive” because he was in front of a police vehicle and there was no suspect lineup.
Gonzalez-Loujun was in custody at the time of the identification, after he allegedly assaulted a police officer and was found with cocaine. Police had encountered him walking away from the Centennial Apartments when they were reporting to a report that a rape had occurred.
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