An attorney defending a man against six felony sex charges said during opening arguments Tuesday there is little physical evidence linking David Jones Jr. to an August rape in Vale Cemetery other than the victim’s statement.
Assigned counsel James Davis said the jury should focus on the nature of the proof, not the nature of the charge.
“The charge could be the most heinous; you need to focus on the evidence allowed into the courtroom,” Davis said.
Davis is on trial for felony rape, criminal sex act and first degree sexual abuse. He is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in Vale Cemetery over four hours Aug. 16.
The victim told police she was walking in Vale around 4:30 p.m. when a man on a bicycle approached, dragged her into the woods and raped her. Neighbors heard her cries for help and called police. Police found Jones walking down the street an hour later, minus his shoes and wearing only thermal pants.
Police said they found sneakers, a pair of pants and a wallet with Jones’ identity at the alleged crime scene, a patch of bushes near Maple Avenue.
If the 12-member, all-white jury find Jones, 59, who is black, guilty on the top counts, he could face 25 years to life in prison. He has a lengthy criminal record, which would factor into a potential sentence. He rejected an earlier plea agreement that would have gotten him as little as five years in prison.
Davis claimed Jones and the 22-year-old woman agreed to have consensual sex Aug. 16 after meeting in the cemetery. But he said she tried to rob him after she brought him into the bushes and removed his shoes and pants. When Davis tried to stop her, “she cries rape; it is a perfect way to cover up a robbery,” he said.
Davis alleged it was not the first time the victim tried to rob somebody, but acting Schenectady County Court Judge Richard Giardino immediately had the jury disregard the statement.
Davis also told the jury the victim refused to undergo a full examination for rape at the hospital; as a result there is no DNA evidence connecting Jones to the victim.
Prosecutor Jessica Larusso said the victim had scratch marks on her neck where Davis allegedly grabbed her and that she was too upset to complete the rape exam.
“It is an invasive procedure,” Larusso said.
Davis said prior to the trial the victim left New York for Florida without telling the prosecution. She has since returned and is scheduled to testify later today.
“Does this sound like the actions of a victim or does it sound like someone who is trying to cover up a crime of her own?” Davis asked.
Larusso said Davis intentionally picked his victim and bullied her into having sex in the bushes. When she tried to resist, he told her, “Shut the [expletive] up” while holding her down.
During the alleged assault, Davis sipped from a small bottle of vodka he carried, Larusso said. Police said they found the bottle along with the other items.
The prosecution’s first witness, Tilack Ramsaywack of 931 Maple Ave., made the initial 911 call. His home is directly adjacent to the bushes where the alleged rape occurred.
Ramsaywack said his wife alerted him to noises coming from the bushes. He went outside to investigate, listening quietly for up to 15 minutes. “I heard, ‘Please leave me alone, don’t hurt me.’ It sounded like a little child crying; she was frantic,” he said. “The man said, ‘Shut the [expletive] up and don’t make a noise.’”
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