After seven days of hearing testimony, the prosecution continues to build its case against former UCSB soccer star Eric Frimpong.
During Monday’s proceedings, the jury listened to the conclusion of the alleged rape victim’s testimony, which consisted mainly of defense attorney Robert Sanger’s cross-examination. Other witnesses included an emergency room doctor, two detectives, a forensics expert and the first man to make contact with the woman after the assault. Frimpong currently stands on trial for the alleged rape of a UCSB student that occurred at an Isla Vista beach on Feb. 17. He is also charged with the sexual assault of another woman who came forward after the former soccer player was arrested.
The defense questioned the alleged victim during cross-examination, focusing on her level of intoxication, memory, hesitancy to contact authorities after the incident, and relationship with on-again-off-again boyfriend Benjamin Randall.
According to her testimony, the woman was arrested for driving under the influence when she was seventeen. She is still currently on probation from the DUI and ordered to abstain from drinking alcohol. She said it was for this reason that she was hesitant to call the police immediately after the incident.
Sanger spent considerable time establishing the alleged victim’s level of intoxication. According to her testimony, the woman, who at the time weighted approximately 115 pounds, did not eat dinner and consumed at least ten drinks throughout the duration of the night.
Sanger proceeded to probe her memory of the night, asking several questions concerning specific details of the attack that she was unable to answer. In addition, her statements given to detectives that night contain few details past her last game of beer pong with the defendant. At one point, Sanger directly confronted the woman about her memory of the night in question.
“Really, your memory of the night ends sometime around the end of that beer pong game, doesn’t it?” Sanger asked.
The woman responded that she remembered part of the evening and more later in the night.
The defense also focused on the woman’s intimate friend, Benjamin Randall. The alleged victim, as well as Randall, had already testified that the two crossed paths on Del Playa Drive, during which time she was walking with Frimpong back to his residence to play beer pong. The two shared a short conversation at that time. After establishing the situation, Sanger asked if Randall followed the two to Frimpong’s residency. The woman said that he did not, but the defense continued to stress the possibility.
While a DNA expert was unavailable on Wednesday to testify due to a family emergency, information concerning DNA had been previously presented by both attorneys. DNA was also a key subject during the pre-trial hearings.
According to the district attorney, the alleged victim’s DNA was found on the defendant’s scrotum, while none of Frimpong’s DNA was found on her. Additionally, Randall’s semen was found on the woman’s panties. She testified that the last time she had sexual intercourse with Randall was on Feb. 13 – three days before the day of the alleged attack.
Judy Malmgren, a forensic nurse examiner working with the Santa Barbara Sexual Assault Response Team, was the most recent witness to testify before the jury. Her testimony focused on her role in examining and collecting forensic evidence from both the woman and Frimpong in the hours after the alleged attack.
Malmgren said the woman did not seem intoxicated and was able to communicate easily, albeit tearfully, with her during the interview. Although the woman described parts of the attack as “blurry” in her mind, Malmgren said such memory loss is “not at all unusual” of trauma victims. She said that although alcohol consumption may have played a role in the woman’s uncertain recollection regarding parts of the attack, the “shock” of trauma can make such events hard to process.
Malgreen testified that a black-light exam, designed to identify proteins such as those found in saliva, semen or lotion on the body, revealed no traces of any such fluids from Frimpong on the woman. She said the failure to find traces of sperm could signify that the woman’s attacker did not ejaculate.
Malmgren then described the various wounds found on the woman’s body during the examination process, which included swelling on her face, bruising on the neck typical of
strangulation, linear lacerations that looked like finger scratches on the inner thigh and a wound on the right buttock. Additionally, the woman had bleeding, open tearing and sand-like debris on her genitals.
The woman’s state of mind and level of intoxication was also prominent in both the prosecution and defense’s questioning of Dr. Gregory Olsen during Tuesday’s proceedings. According to Olsen, the emergency room physician who first treated the alleged victim, her blood alcohol level, which was taken immediately after her first examination, was .20 – well above the legal limit of .08. Olsen, however, also testified that the woman was responsive and never lost consciousness. When asked what a blood alcohol level of .20 would do to someone, he replied that it varies greatly from person to person.