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 the incident 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.”
Jones is charged with felony rape, criminal sex act and first-degree sexual abuse. He is accused of assaulting a woman in Vale Cemetery over a four-hour period last Aug. 16.
The woman told police she had been walking in Vale around 4:30 p.m. that day 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 scene, a patch of bushes near Maple Avenue.
If the jury finds Jones, 59, 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 state prison.
Davis said Jones and the 22-year-old woman agreed to have consensual sex on Aug. 16 after meeting in the cemetery. But he said she actually tried to rob him after she brought him into the bushes and removed his shoes and his pants. When Jones tried to stop her, “she cries rape; it is a perfect way to cover up a robbery,” Davis said.
Davis alleged it was not the first time the victim tried to rob somebody. Acting Schenectady County Court Judge Richard Giardino immediately directed the jury to disregard Davis’ 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.
Prosecutor Jessica Larusso said the victim had scratch marks on her neck where Jones allegedly grabbed her and that she was too upset to complete the rape exam. “It is an invasive procedure.”
Davis said prior to the trial the woman left New York for Florida without telling the prosecution. She has since returned and is scheduled to give testimony later.
“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 Jones 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, Jones would sip 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.
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.’ ”
The trial continues today.