The prosecution continued its case against Eric Frimpong yesterday, providing witness testimony regarding the alleged rape of a UCSB student.
Deputy District Attorney Mary Barron called to the stand two witnesses during the course of yesterday’s proceedings – both of whom are close friends of the alleged rape victim. Frimpong currently stands on trial for the alleged rape of a UCSB student that occurred at an Isla Vista beach on Feb. 17 and is also charged with the sexual assault of another woman who came forward after the former soccer player was arrested.
Second-year communication major Lakshmi “Munni” Krishna testified before the jury yesterday that she was with the victim on the night the alleged assault and rape took place. In response to questions posed by the district attorney, Krishna said she and several friends living in Francisco Torres drank and got ready to go out together in the dorms on the night of Feb. 16. Krishna testified that her friend was in high spirits while walking to a house in I.V., where Krishna said they continued to drink.
Second-year undeclared major Mia Wolfson was also among the group of friends that night, and was present at the dorms before the group headed out into I.V. According to her testimony, the alleged victim drank eight or nine shots of vodka before leaving. When asked about her level of intoxication, she replied that she was not drunk, but just “buzzed.”
Both witnesses said they departed from the party early, and left their friend at the house. According to both witnesses, they arrived at the party at around 9 p.m. and left by approximately 10 p.m. Neither witness was in contact with the alleged victim until later that night around the hour of 1 a.m., when the victim contacted Krishna via a cell phone. Both witnesses said their friend was frantic and slightly disoriented.
Krishna woke Wolfson, who owned a car, and the two drove to the 6600 block of Del Playa Drive and picked up their friend and took her back to Francisco Torres. When the two discovered her standing among a group of people on Del Playa, she was crying and covered in what appeared to be dirt, with a bruise on her face and was without shoes or a purse.
The prosecution then presented as evidence a jacket with light brown mud smeared across the back and along the sleeves, which Krishna identified as the one the victim was wearing when she and her friend picked her up on Del Playa on the night in question.
Krishna described the shape and location of the bruise on her friend’s cheek with her hand, signifying an area of approximately 1 inch by 2.5 inches located along the cheekbone. The bruise was later identified as a bite mark to the face.
During her testimony, Wolfson recalled the moment when she first saw the alleged victim the night of the attack.
“She told me that she had been raped and was very hysterical,” Wolfson said. “She said that she was in pain and that her wrists and face hurt. There appeared to be a bite mark on her face.”
Once back in the dorms, Wolfson said her friend described the events leading up to the alleged rape. According to Wolfson’s testimony, the victim traveled to DP to attend a party at the senior house of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. She and Frimpong were denied entrance to the party. She said the two then met outside the party and Frimpong invited her to his house to play beer pong. After an unknown period of time playing beer pong, she said the two traveled to the beach where the defendant allegedly tried to kiss the victim.
According to Wolfson, the next thing her friend remembered was being on the sand, her face hurting and being allegedly raped by Frimpong. She said the woman later ran away and left her shoes and purse behind. Once back on the street, she called Krishna from a stranger’s phone.
Krishna said that at the time, her friend did not identify the man who allegedly assaulted her by his full name, but stated only that he was black and “had a weird accent,” which she thought might have been Caribbean. She said the attacker’s first name was Eric.
Krishna then described how she and Wolfson encouraged the alleged victim to seek medical attention. The woman’s sister then picked her up and took her to the Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital Emergency Clinic, where she received care for her injuries. According to Krishna, her friend was then transferred to the Sexual Assault Response Cottage in downtown Santa Barbara, accompanied by her sister.
According the Wolfson, the alleged victim was too frightened to go to work after the incident, so she and Krishna offered to go to work with her until her shift was over. Wolfson said they sat through nearly every shift for a month after the event. On Feb. 28, Frimpong entered the place of work. Upon seeing her alleged attacker, the victim ran into the back of the store and started to cry. She remained there until Frimpong had left. Wolfson and Krishna then reported the incident to the I.V. Foot Patrol.
To find Frimpong, detectives, along with the help of Wolfson, used Facebook to search for his identity. They arrested Frimpong later that day while he was playing ping-pong at an I.V. park.