Just a quickhit as I’m spoon-missing today: The Anchorage Daily News reports on a multiple-rape, assault, and murder trial underway in court this week.
* Sexual violence trigger warnings.*
Rape, assault trial gets under way
Man offered rides to four women on cold night, prosecutor tells jurors.
The prosecutor calls it a brutal rape rampage that left four women battered and frightened for their lives. The defense attorney calls it a series of bad interactions with loose or intoxicated women by a man looking to party.
Airjetis Espinal, 24, is on trial for attempted murder, assault and multiple counts of rape for what happened on Jan. 20, 2007.
In opening statements Wednesday, prosecutor Taylor Winston told jurors that, over an hour, Espinal picked up the women in his white Chevy Impala, offering them rides on the cold night. Then he raped or tried to rape them, some at gunpoint, she said.
Espinal fired an assault rifle at the one who dared to fight him and slipped from his grasp. “Twelve violent acts against four women in one violent hour,” Winston said.
Defense attorney Krista Maciolek offered a different version. She said Espinal was a military man brought to Alaska by the Army — from the Dominican Republic via New York. He was looking for a good time. Yes, his behavior that night was not commendable. Yes, he may be guilty of firing a gun toward one woman and pointing a gun at another. But rape? “Not even close,” she said.
Minutes later, he found a third victim in Fairview, Winston said. He said he was a police officer and even spoke into his shoulder, pretending there was a microphone. When he told her to take off her pants, she tried to get out of the moving vehicle. He managed to rip off her shirt before she ran for her life. He fired at her five times with an assault rifle while the woman hid in a pile of snow, wearing only a bra and pants, Winston said.
The fourth woman he found back at the same gas station in Mountain View. Espinal took her to an alley, threatened her with a gun and raped her in multiple ways, the charges say.
No, said Maciolek. The mother and daughter were troublemakers who wanted to buy liquor. The mother was so drunk, she couldn’t go into a liquor store, and the teen was too young. So, Maciolek said, the 18-year-old offered sex in exchange for Espinal buying liquor. He didn’t though, and when Espinal dropped the women off, the girl gave him her phone number. “If she was raped and in fear of her life, that doesn’t make sense,” Maciolek told jurors.
The third victim was a woman looking to score crack, the defense says, and, yeah, Espinal got into a tussle with the woman because he didn’t want to have anything to do with buying drugs. He tried to kick her out of the car. And, yes, the gun was fired, but that’s because it was shot into the air to scare her off, Maciolek said.
Espinal was a sniper in the military, she said. “He had sharp-shooting training. He’s a perfect shot. If he intended to murder her, (she) would have been murdered,” Maciolek said.
The trial continues today.
Am I right in guessing that the lawyers are not reeeeally trying, by postulating such a vanishingly improbable series of unfortunate events in such a short space of time?