Victim tells of night she was attacked
April 25, 2002
Fighting back tears on the witness stand, an Aspen woman told a jury Wednesday that she thought she was going to die as she was attacked and raped last summer.
The woman, 22, was emotional and openly cried at times while telling the court about the night she was attacked in the alley behind Little Annie’s Eating House. Marcos Garcia-Flores, 22, is on trial for the crime in Pitkin County District Court.
The witness recalled fighting against her attacker, attempting to strike him in the face and knee him in the groin. She said she finally decided she might live if she stopped resisting.
“I stopped fighting because I didn’t think I was ever going to see anybody again,” she said. “I thought I was going to be left for dead in an alley at age 21, miles away from my family, my parents, by someone who doesn’t even know me and has no reason at all.”
The bulk of the prosecution’s witnesses testified Wednesday. And Assistant District Attorney Lawson Wills said a representative from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation will be his last witness today at 8:30 a.m. Because Tuesday’s jury selection took less than a day, both attorneys and Judge J.E. DeVilbiss said jury deliberations could begin as early as noon today.
Steve Ayers, an Aspen Valley Hospital emergency room doctor, testified that the victim’s descriptions of the attack matched the injuries he examined that night. Ayers said the victim’s severely bruised and swollen right eye, fractured nose and rupture of her left eardrum were signs of being struck with an attacker’s fist and being knocked onto the pavement several times.
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He said the injuries could have been fatal or could have caused long-lasting harm. Ayers also said there was “scraping” in the victim’s vaginal walls that are “more common with nonconsensual intercourse.”
A Pitkin County Sheriff’s deputy and a special agent for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency branch in Glenwood Springs each translated comments Garcia-Flores made to police in the days following his arrest. They testified that the defendant gave several versions of his activities that night in July.
Garcia-Flores allegedly first told police he went home at 11:30 that night and later said he went to New York Pizza, where he encountered a “white woman” who asked him for cocaine. When he told her he didn’t have any, she shoved him, fell down on the ground and walked away with another Latino male, he allegedly told police.
In the third and final account of that evening, police say Garcia-Flores reported having consensual sex with the woman in an alley in Aspen. He said this woman fell down and hit her head afterward, and he noticed her eye swelling shut as she walked away.
Public Defender James Conway on cross-examination pointed out that neither of the men police used to interpret Garcia-Flores’ statements are “professional interpreters.”
As the first witness of the day, the young woman told the court she went out with friends from her work the night of the attack, July 17, 2001. She said during her time in Little Annie’s that night, she noticed a man there she didn’t recognize, who was “quiet” and “kept to himself.”
She said when she was leaving the bar just after 2 a.m., the same man was standing outside the front door with a bicycle, prompting her to turn and walk away from him.
“There was a creepy vibe about the whole thing,” she told the jury. She said as she walked, she noticed someone following her, walking a bike.
She said the person, a male, was calling her name in broken English, and she began running as he called to her, “I want to fuck you.” She said she doesn’t remember how she got into the alley, but remembered the bike being thrown aside as her assailant attacked her.
She described being struck in the face and being choked while the attacker slammed her head into the ground. She pointed out Garcia-Flores, sitting next to his lawyer, as the man she identified in a police photo lineup.
During the public defender’s cross-examination, the victim said that she was “fairly intoxicated” that night and that she told police she was the most intoxicated she’d ever been before.
“But I knew what was going on,” the woman added. “I was in trouble, in danger. I knew I had to be in control, so I sobered up quickly. When you fear for your life, it pulls through for you.”
A cook at Little Annie’s Eating House, Jorge Ceballos, also identified the defendant as someone he had seen at the bar the night of July 17. He said he saw Garcia-Flores stare at the victim that night inside the bar, but never approach her.
Evidence presented also included testimony from two AVH nurses who performed a “rape kit,” including oral and vaginal swabs on the victim the night of the attack, and took hair and blood samples from the defendant in the days following the attack.