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HomeNewsArchivesWOMAN TESTIFIES IN 1st DAY OF EAST-END RAPE TRIAL

WOMAN TESTIFIES IN 1st DAY OF EAST-END RAPE TRIAL

Oct. 15, 2001 – Jurors heard heart-wrenching testimony Monday from a woman who said she was raped repeatedly at the East End of St. Thomas by a man who forced her into a car as she walked along the road in Red Hook.
The testimony came in the first day of the trial of Swaleh Muiruri, a Kenyan national who has been living on St. Thomas. Muiruri is charged with 10 counts including first-degree rape, kidnaping and first-degree assault in connection with the woman’s report that he raped her at Vessup Beach and again along a road leading toward Cabrita Point shortly after midnight on Aug. 8, 2000.
Muiruri fled from St. Thomas in the days after police questioned him about the incident. At that time, he told them that he had consensual sex with the woman, according to court testimony. He was arrested by the FBI on the mainland and returned to the Virgin Islands in December, 2000.
In opening statements at trial Monday, defense attorney Stephen Brusch said that the woman willingly had sex with Muiruri, and later claimed he raped her because she did not want her husband to know the truth.
"She’s living a lie, and she wants to sweep you up in it," Brusch told jurors. "This is not force; this is not rape; this is consensual sex. Don’t buy this story."
But Assistant Attorney General Delia Smith told the jurors they would hear overwhelming evidence – testimony from the woman, medical evidence, a tape of the 911 call and testimony from a security guard who helped the woman and investigators – that would indicate she was sexually assaulted.
"This is down-in-the-dirt rape. Violent, senseless, absolutely incredibly frightening, incredibly life-threatening, incredibly violent, incredibly forceful," Smith said. "It’s almost like he was a predator lurking, watching his prey, waiting to lunge out and attack."
On the witness stand, the woman spoke in a strong, confident voice as she told jurors a detailed account of what happened. She began sobbing several times during the graphic testimony, and at other times shouted at Muiruri, who quietly listened as an interpreter translated the testimony into his native Swahili.
She had been at a Red Hook bar having drinks with her husband and some friends when she had an argument with her husband and went outside sometime after midnight, she testified. As she walked along the Red Hook Road, Muiruri stopped his car and offered her a ride, but she declined. A couple of minutes later he drove up again to offer a ride, but when she again said no, he told her he would shoot her unless she got in.
"I was scared to death," she testified. "There was nobody around, and it was dark."
She got in and pleaded with him to take her back to her husband, or to her home in Cowpet Bay, but instead Muiruri drove onto the road at Vessup Beach, she said. She tried to jump out of the car, but he held her arm and her feet were dragged along the ground by the moving car, she said.
She got away and ran toward the main road, but he caught her, choking her and squeezing her mouth shut so she couldn’t scream, she testified. He then raped her at the beach, and later got her back in the car.
But instead of taking her home, he turned off onto a small road off of the main road to Cabrita Point, she said. There he raped her again several more times as she said words to try to placate him so he would not kill her, she testified.
At that time, she also made an effort to leave her fingerprints all over his car and pulled out some of her own hair to leave in the vehicle, as she wanted to leave evidence linking her to Muiruri’s vehicle. She was also able to get his license plate number, which eventually led police to the suspect.
Muiruri later dropped her off near her Cowpet Bay home, and she immediately reported the rape to a security guard there, according to court papers.
The trial is expected to resume Tuesday. If convicted of the first-degree rape counts, Muiruri could face life in prison.

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Oct. 15, 2001 – Jurors heard heart-wrenching testimony Monday from a woman who said she was raped repeatedly at the East End of St. Thomas by a man who forced her into a car as she walked along the road in Red Hook.
The testimony came in the first day of the trial of Swaleh Muiruri, a Kenyan national who has been living on St. Thomas. Muiruri is charged with 10 counts including first-degree rape, kidnaping and first-degree assault in connection with the woman’s report that he raped her at Vessup Beach and again along a road leading toward Cabrita Point shortly after midnight on Aug. 8, 2000.
Muiruri fled from St. Thomas in the days after police questioned him about the incident. At that time, he told them that he had consensual sex with the woman, according to court testimony. He was arrested by the FBI on the mainland and returned to the Virgin Islands in December, 2000.
In opening statements at trial Monday, defense attorney Stephen Brusch said that the woman willingly had sex with Muiruri, and later claimed he raped her because she did not want her husband to know the truth.
"She’s living a lie, and she wants to sweep you up in it," Brusch told jurors. "This is not force; this is not rape; this is consensual sex. Don’t buy this story."
But Assistant Attorney General Delia Smith told the jurors they would hear overwhelming evidence – testimony from the woman, medical evidence, a tape of the 911 call and testimony from a security guard who helped the woman and investigators – that would indicate she was sexually assaulted.
"This is down-in-the-dirt rape. Violent, senseless, absolutely incredibly frightening, incredibly life-threatening, incredibly violent, incredibly forceful," Smith said. "It’s almost like he was a predator lurking, watching his prey, waiting to lunge out and attack."
On the witness stand, the woman spoke in a strong, confident voice as she told jurors a detailed account of what happened. She began sobbing several times during the graphic testimony, and at other times shouted at Muiruri, who quietly listened as an interpreter translated the testimony into his native Swahili.
She had been at a Red Hook bar having drinks with her husband and some friends when she had an argument with her husband and went outside sometime after midnight, she testified. As she walked along the Red Hook Road, Muiruri stopped his car and offered her a ride, but she declined. A couple of minutes later he drove up again to offer a ride, but when she again said no, he told her he would shoot her unless she got in.
"I was scared to death," she testified. "There was nobody around, and it was dark."
She got in and pleaded with him to take her back to her husband, or to her home in Cowpet Bay, but instead Muiruri drove onto the road at Vessup Beach, she said. She tried to jump out of the car, but he held her arm and her feet were dragged along the ground by the moving car, she said.
She got away and ran toward the main road, but he caught her, choking her and squeezing her mouth shut so she couldn’t scream, she testified. He then raped her at the beach, and later got her back in the car.
But instead of taking her home, he turned off onto a small road off of the main road to Cabrita Point, she said. There he raped her again several more times as she said words to try to placate him so he would not kill her, she testified.
At that time, she also made an effort to leave her fingerprints all over his car and pulled out some of her own hair to leave in the vehicle, as she wanted to leave evidence linking her to Muiruri’s vehicle. She was also able to get his license plate number, which eventually led police to the suspect.
Muiruri later dropped her off near her Cowpet Bay home, and she immediately reported the rape to a security guard there, according to court papers.
The trial is expected to resume Tuesday. If convicted of the first-degree rape counts, Muiruri could face life in prison.