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Jury deliberations to continue today

Naomi Havlen
Aspen Times Staff Writer

After five hours of deliberation Monday, the jury in the trial of a man charged with sexual assault had not reached a verdict and was sent home.

Jurors will be back at the courthouse at 8:30 a.m. today to continue deliberations.

Closing arguments in the trial of Ramon Dominguez-Jimenez, accused of sexually assaulting a co-worker, ended at 3:45 p.m. yesterday. The jury of seven men and five women began deliberating by 4 p.m., and Judge Leonard Plank asked the jurors to go home at 9 p.m.

Monday’s proceedings began at 8:30 a.m., with Assistant District Attorney Lawson Wills cross-examining the defendant. Dominguez-Jimenez testified on Friday that he had an ongoing sexual relationship with the victim, a 58-year-old native of the Philippines.

While the defendant had called the relationship “a very private thing,” Wills noted that he claimed the couple had sex twice in a parked car and once outside near a public park. He also pointed out that according to records of phone calls, the defendant called the victim before he claims she gave him her phone number.

Wills also asked Dominguez-Jimenez how much blood he saw after the couple had sex on the night in question, since two doctors had testified that the victim lost an enormous amount of blood due to a vaginal laceration she suffered.

The defendant claimed he didn’t see much blood, although heavily blood-stained towels that Dominguez-Jimenez threw away after the incident were introduced into evidence during Wills’ rebuttal case.

Defense attorney Arnold Mordkin called Dr. Kurt Papenfus as his last witness on Monday. The emergency room physician testified that he had studied the reports of the victim’s wound and could not say for certain whether it occurred because of nonconsensual sex.

During the closing argument, Mordkin threw crumpled up pieces of paper into boxes marked “guilty” and “not guilty,” showing the jury how he recommends they weigh evidence presented by the prosecution.

He systematically discredited statements the victim made on the witness stand, throwing the balled-up paper from a legal pad into the “not guilty” box.

He put one ball of paper into the “guilty” box: the piece of evidence provided by three separate physicians about the severity of the victim’s wound. But Mordkin pointed to time sheets from the Inn at Aspen as his “smoking gun,” which apparently prove that the victim didn’t work on a day that she had indicated during her testimony.

“She told you unequivocally, no question about it that she was working every Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday,” he said. “And guess what? It ain’t true. She didn’t work on March 10. She lied to you on the stand.”

Mordkin went on to say that based on the blood stains on the paper towels and washcloths that Dominguez-Jimenez gave the victim, he thinks she was exaggerating about how much blood she lost when she was in the defendant’s truck after the incident.

He also said that while she said it was hard to tell her daughter in the hospital about how the injury occurred, it was probably difficult because she had to admit to committing adultery.

“We heard that rape has a stigma in the Filipino culture ? adultery also has that same stigma,” he said. “It’s hard to tell your daughter who’s sitting in the same room that you are cheating on her stepfather.”

During Wills’ rebuttal statement, he told the jury that Mordkin’s representative pieces of paper were garbage and just “a point system” for the truth. He implored jurors one more time to see the incident as “plain violence.”

For his closing argument, Wills characterized the victim as an “older, weaker, passive” woman who speaks little English and was very carefully chosen as a victim by Dominguez-Jimenez.

“She was leaving this area in a week for the Philippines, maybe never to return,” Wills said. “How convenient is that? This was planned. He built her confidence by giving her other rides.”

While Dominguez-Jimenez had testified that he had sexual contact with the woman several times during previous rides home from work, Wills told the jury to completely discredit his testimony.

“You don’t have to believe one word out of this guy’s mouth, and I suggest you don’t,” he said. “His personality is machismo. He thinks he’s so desirable he can come into this court and present that story. He’s had 10 months to put together this story.”

The jurors will decide if Dominguez-Jimenez is guilty of sexual assault, a class two felony. Since he is allegedly in the country illegally, he could face deportation from the Immigration and Naturalization Service if convicted.

[Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is nhavlen@aspentimes.com]


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