Surgeon testifies on wound in rape trial
Sexual assault suspect Ramon Dominguez-Jimenez will take the witness stand today in his own defense, his attorney said on Thursday.
According to defense attorney Arnold Mordkin, his client will tell his side of what happened on the night of March 24, 2002, when he allegedly sexually assaulted a coworker. Judge Leonard Plank read Dominguez-Jimenez an advisement in preparation of his testimony, assuring the court that the suspect understands his rights to testify or remain silent.
Dominguez-Jimenez, 38, nodded and responded, “Yes, sir,” when asked if he understood his rights and said he had no questions for Judge Plank. The court’s proceedings are being translated into Spanish for Dominguez-Jimenez, a native of Honduras.
In Pitkin County District Court on Thursday, prosecutors presented seven witnesses.
Dr. Mindy Nagle, the obstetrician/gynecologist who performed surgery on the victim the night of the attack, testified about the vaginal laceration the victim suffered.
Nagle said the victim could have bled to death if the wound was left untreated, based on how much blood she was losing. From when Nagle first saw the victim until she was able to stop the blood flow, she said the victim had lost approximately half a liter of blood.
She measured the wound as 3 inches long and three-quarters of an inch wide near the cervix, and said the “huge laceration” was most likely caused by “extremely traumatic” sexual activity.
“There is no way it could have been associated with consensual sex,” Nagle said of the injury. She said she has seen similar trauma that can be caused by foreign objects such as broomsticks.
Janel Smith, who analyzes DNA for the Colorado Bureau of Investigations, told the jury that she matched the DNA in bloodstains found in the defendant’s truck to a blood sample taken from the victim. She also connected blood on a washcloth and some paper towels that Dominguez-Jimenez allegedly placed in a Basalt trash can to the victim.
Smith said seminal fluid was also found on the washcloth, but not enough to perform a DNA analysis.
Just after the day’s lunch break, jurors were walked down to the parking lot behind the courthouse to look at the defendant’s truck, in which the alleged sexual assault took place. Police have kept the truck as evidence.
They stood quietly looking in the truck’s two opened doors, and looking at where police removed stained fabric and foam from the passenger’s seat.
Dominguez-Jimenez, flanked by Pitkin County Sheriff’s deputies, watched the jurors look at his truck.
The victim’s daughter began the day’s testimony, telling the court about her mother’s unusually quiet demeanor when she returned home from work on the night of the attack.
The daughter, who now lives with her mother in San Diego, translated her mother’s Pilipino language to police and doctors after taking her mother to the hospital that night.
She testified in a calm, clear voice, occasionally pausing to hold back tears as she remembered what her mother told her about the attack.
“My mom is a very very loving person, you have to know her very well to see what she is,” she said. “She’s hard working, she works hard here to support her family back in the Philippines. She trusts people. She’s a very trusting person.”
The daughter told the court that her mother didn’t say anything about the attack before she got to the hospital because she was ashamed.
“I said if you said no to this guy and he forced you, it means he raped you. I had to explain it to her so many times that what happened to her was rape,” she said. “In the Philippines, if something like this happened to you, you are embarrassed to tell your family because it’s a shame to tell anyone.”
On his cross-examination, defense attorney Arnold Mordkin indicated that the victim may have been having an extramarital affair with his client.
“How do they feel in the Philippines about women who commit adultery? Is it shameful?” he asked. “Would you say it is equally shameful to commit adultery as to have been raped?” The daughter answered affirmatively.
A Pitkin County Sheriff’s investigator testified that Dominguez-Jimenez told him after he was arrested that he did have sex with the victim, but that it was consensual. A woman who works at the Inn at Aspen, where the victim and defendant were coworkers, told the court it wasn’t unusual for Dominguez-Jimenez to offer his coworkers a ride home, as he did to the victim the night of the alleged attack.
The prosecution’s last witnesses, an emergency room doctor who saw the victim and a rape counselor, will testify this morning. Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy Ann Stephenson is expected to be the defense’s first witness, followed by Dominguez-Jimenez.
Mordkin’s last witness, a doctor, is not scheduled to appear until Monday. Judge Plank estimated the jury will have the case to deliberate by Monday afternoon.
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