Police continue testimony in Aspen rape case | AspenTimes.com

Police continue testimony in Aspen rape case

ASPEN – The man accused of sexually assaulting a woman at the Centennial housing complex can be seen with his unzipped pants hanging low, wet and snow-covered, according to testimony by an Aspen police detective and a patrol car videotape that was shown to jurors Wednesday.

Aspen police Detective Walter Chi testified that when he responded to the scene in the early morning hours of Jan. 17, 2009, suspect Emanuel Gonzalez-Loujun, 22, of Carbondale, already had been arrested after allegedly assaulting officer Leon Murray. Murray was one of the first responding law enforcement officials.

Authorities allege that the victim, against her will, performed at least three sexual acts with Gonzalez-Loujun after he followed her home from the bus. He allegedly dragged her to a snowbank outside of her apartment and sexually assaulted her, threatening to kill himself with a gun if she didn’t comply with his demands.

Dressed in a black suit and sitting in the first row of benches in a Pitkin County courtroom, Gonzalez-Loujun looked away while the videotape was being played, often fidgeting with his eyeglasses, ring and watch.

Chi described his actions in the video, explaining that he placed his foot in front of Gonzalez-Loujun, who was lying on an icy road handcuffed, in order to help him up and prevent him from falling.

Once he was helped to his feet, Chi said he began to pull up Gonzalez-Loujun’s pants, which were hanging “below his underwear.”

“I’m trying to cover up Mr. Gonzalez’s underwear to save him some embarrassment,” Chi told jurors as the tape was being played, explaining that there were several people at the scene.

Chi testified that after searching Gonzalez-Loujun, he found a black velour sunglasses bag that contained 14 bindles of cocaine in the suspect’s pants pocket.

Chi’s testimony will continue Thursday with public defenders Stephen McCrohan and Tina Fang cross-examining him.

Fang cross-examined Aspen police officer Robert Fabrocini on Wednesday, questioning why police did not provide a suspect lineup for the alleged victim. Instead, police produced only Gonzalez-Loujun, whom the alleged victim immediately identified when she saw him – in custody – next to two patrol vehicles with lights shined on him from the cars’ headlights.

Fang argued that an individual has a constitutional right to not be placed into an identification process that is suggestive or unfairly singles him out.

Fabrocini testified that a “field show-up” was conducted because of the time, place and close proximity of the victim and the suspect.

“We had reason to believe he was the suspect based on the description” given, Fabrocini said.

Chi testified that the field show-up was done near the squad car because the suspect already was in custody and he didn’t want him to escape.

The defense called its first witness, Sarah Urfer, a Boulder-based forensic toxicologist, to the stand Wednesday. She testified that she was unable to test the blood of Gonzalez-Loujun to determine if he was intoxicated or had cocaine in his system.

Urfer testified that the APD hadn’t provided an adequate sample because it lacked preservatives necessary to keeping the blood from coagulating.

It has been determined that Gonzalez-Loujun’s blood-alcohol count was 0.078 at 9 a.m. Jan. 17, several hours after the alleged sexual assault.

Fang also questioned Fabrocini as to why the area wasn’t sealed off with crime tape and no pictures were taken for evidence until April 3.

Fabrocini admitted that a thorough search of the crime scene was not conducted but added that after walking around for 10 to 15 minutes, he saw no signs of troubled areas.

Gonzalez-Loujun faces up to life in state prison if convicted of the sexual assault charge. He also is being tried for the felony counts of kidnapping, assault on a police officer, possession of cocaine and possession of cocaine with the intent to distribute.

Since his arrest, Gonzalez-Loujun has been in the custody of the Pitkin County jail on a $250,000 bond.

The trial resumes Thursday with sexual assault nurse examiner Carol Began testifying for the prosecution, as well as a DNA technician. The trial is expected to end this week.


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