Defense Questions Testimony in Rape Case

2012-07-19T02:10:00Z 2012-07-19T09:04:08Z Defense Questions Testimony in Rape CaseBy Alison Gene Smith alismith@magicvalley.com Twin Falls Times-News

Editor’s note: The following story contains graphic information that may offend some readers.

TWIN FALLS • Defense attorney David Smethers worked to pick apart the testimony of an alleged rape victim Wednesday as several other witnesses with law enforcement, medical and scientific backgrounds testified in regards to her case.

Twin Falls County resident Jason Jay Ward, 37, is accused of raping the woman twice in one night in May 2011.

Ward’s alleged victim told the jury her story Tuesday. Prosecutors rested their case against him Wednesday on the second day of trial.

Fifth District Judge Randy Stoker stopped one of Smethers’ lines of questioning Wednesday after Smethers asked the woman to demonstrate pulling her jeans off in the same way Ward allegedly did the night of the reported attack.

The woman, who was 19 at the time of the alleged rape, described Tuesday how Ward allegedly pulled her jeans off by the pant legs while she was laying on the ground. When the woman agreed that the jeans could be described as “hip-huggers,” Smethers questioned how they could be pulled off if they were tight around her hips.

“The more I wear them the more they stretch out,” she said, as she held the jeans she wore that night up for the jury. “They don’t fit as snuggly.”

At that point, Smethers asked the woman if she could demonstrate pulling another pair of jeans she wore to the trial off by the legs in the same area Ward allegedly pulled her jeans from. Prosecutors swiftly objected.

“I think it’s outrageous to ask this witness to essentially undress in front of the jury,” Deputy Twin Falls County Prosecutor Rosemary Emory said.

Emory also said the request was an invasion of the woman’s privacy and pointed out the woman never testified the jeans she was currently wearing fit the same as the jeans she had on during the alleged assault.

Stoker said the invasion of the alleged victim’s privacy was not a legal reason to object, but he said the demonstration would not be appropriate for the courtroom.

Smethers also quizzed the woman about her injuries, the use of her cellphone the night of the alleged rape, about her being on felony probation and about her blood-alcohol level being .08 when it was tested at the hospital.

Several witnesses testified to the alleged victim’s emotional state while they were in contact with her, including Twin Falls Police Officer Jamie Harper, who was the first to arrive on the scene.

“She was crying and almost completely incoherent,” Harper testified. “She was very distraught.”

The alleged victim’s clothing was torn and weeds and debris were in her hair, Harper said. She testified that although she could smell alcohol on the woman, she did not seem to be overly intoxicated.

A paramedic who responded and the 911 operator who took the woman’s call also testified she was sobbing and distraught while they spoke with her.

Smethers extensively questioned Stacy Guess, a forensic scientist with the Idaho State Police Forensic Department, about her tests on DNA samples from the alleged victim and Ward, until Stoker noted his questions were largely covered by a prior court stipulation regarding the sample. Guess testified the DNA sample taken from a swab on the alleged victim matched Ward.

Jurors watched a short clip of a police interview with Ward in which he said he and the victim did not have sex. They also listened to the entire 911 call from the alleged victim following the incident.

The trial will resume at 8:30 this morning with the defense calling witnesses. Stoker said the jury could expect to have the case handed over to them today.

For continued trial coverage and more background on the case, keep reading the Times-News and visit Magicvalley.com.

Copyright 2015 Twin Falls Times-News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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