Jacob Ewing’s alleged victim testifies, centering the trial on her believability

HOLTON — Whether Jacob Ewing is convicted or acquitted likely hinges on whether a dozen jurors believe a 15-year-old girl who testified for several hours Tuesday about the night she says Ewing drove her to a cemetery and sodomized her on the hood of his car.

 

“I remember telling him to stop. I started crying. He finished and we left,” the girl said as she shifted uncomfortably in the witness chair, her voice quivering.

She told of a searing pain and the “tons of blood” that followed. For two years, she spoke only to her closest confidantes about the case, fearful and embarrassed about what had happened and adamant that justice would not be served if she came forward, she said.

Ewing, 22, is charged with aggravated indecent liberties and aggravated criminal sodomy with a child under 14 years old. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges in a case that has reverberated around this small town.

For more than three hours Tuesday, the girl told her short life story and faced a barrage of questions. She spoke about her stepfather’s heinous abuse that bordered on torture — burning her with cigarettes, threatening to drown her, forcing her underwear into her mouth.

After being removed from the home, she spoke about a new life with her biological father in this Jackson County town and about her crush on “one of the hottest guys in Holton,” the one who reminded her of Channing Tatum: Ewing.

She spoke about their budding social media friendship — the Instagram messages, the Snapchat photos. Then, lowering her voice to a near-whisper, she described the summer night in 2014 when, according to her, Ewing invited her to drive around and talk, took her to Olive Hill Cemetery, parked between a row of gravestones, asked her twice to step out of his car, pushed her face onto the hood, pulled her pants and underwear down and sodomized her. He was 19 years old at the time; she was 13.

“I couldn’t do anything because he’s stronger than I was,” she said in a recollection of her own helplessness.

Kathleen Ambrosio, Ewing’s defense attorney, grilled the girl for two hours, casting doubt on the story she told and her validity as a narrator. At one time, the alleged victim claimed the sexual assault had occurred in the spring of 2014. But on the witness stand Tuesday, she said it was the summer of that year “because I had no school the next day.”

The girl claimed at one point to have never spoken to a member of the Ewing family about the alleged night in the cemetery. But on the witness stand she acknowledged seeing the defendant’s brother at a party last summer and talking to him.

At another moment in the trial, she claimed to have never heard of a certain woman. Minutes later, she acknowledged the woman had sent her a Facebook message urging her to speak out about the night at the cemetery.

The seven women and five men who will determine Ewing’s guilt scribbled frantically at times on green notepads provided to them by the court at the request of one juror and the approval of Judge Norbert Marek. The total lack of forensic evidence and eyewitness testimony enhances the importance of the girl’s credibility in the minds of jurors.

The girl’s father also testified, his gravelly voice deepening in anger as he described what his daughter had told him. He glared menacingly at Ewing, who sat about seven feet in front of him, until special prosecutor Jacqie Spradling told the father to look at her instead, easing the tension.

Ewing’s prolific use of social media has become a point of discussion during the trial. Detectives say his Facebook history totals 60,000 pages when printed. Both he and the alleged victim deleted messages that could have shed more light on what transpired between them, detectives said Tuesday.

Mark Malick, a special agent with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation and lead detective on the case, testified about the ability of the girl to give law enforcement officers precise directions to the cemetery, despite her unfamiliarity with it and short stint in Holton. The girl “wasn’t coached and she wasn’t given suggestions,” Malick said.

The girl told Malick she was “terrified” after the sodomy and that Ewing’s temper reminded her of her stepfather. Therefore, she told Malick, she mentioned it to no one for two years. However, an acquaintance of the girl said she had spoken to her about the night in the cemetery. The alleged victim admitted in her testimony that she had told a few people before going to law enforcement with the accusation last summer.

Malick, under questioning from special prosecutor Jacqie Spradling, described how Ewing contacted a classmate, Alexander Elliott, through Facebook to get the girl’s phone number. Elliott, a self-described outcast, was surprised to hear from Ewing, a popular student and athlete, but warned Ewing that the girl is “jail bait.” Ewing allegedly did not respond to the warning.

“Mr. Ewing did not say, ‘Don’t tell anybody but I’ve been hanging around with this girl?’ ” Ambrosio asked.

“He did not,” Malick said.

Christopher Nicholson, a KBI special agent with the Child Victims Unit, was the first person to interview the girl about her accusation on Aug. 19. He testified that the girl had previously declined to send Ewing nude photos of herself through social media. Ambrosio poked holes in Nicholson’s interview, asking a half-dozen times why he didn’t question apparent misstatements or contradictions in the girl’s claims.

Tuesday’s deliberations began with an opening statement from Spradling. She started with a threatening quote that Ewing allegedly said to the girl after sodomizing her: “I’d better never hear about this from your mouth.” She ended her opening statement with the slogan of a website she said Ewing frequented: “I Make That B—— Bleed.”

Ambrosio deferred her opening statement, choosing to deliver it at a later time. The trial will continue Wednesday morning at the Jackson County Courthouse with testimony from the prosecution’s next witness. It is expected to conclude sometime late this week.

JANET MILLER 6 months ago
Lock him up for life.
Alex Rogers 6 months ago
Shes lying
 

More

Sun, 06/25/2017 - 21:29

Police calls - Update for June 25, 2017

The following felony cases have been reported to the Topeka Police Department:

Read more

Around the Web