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Elderly rape victim testifies about June attack in southeast Wichita

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, August 14, 2013, at 11:04 a.m.
  • Updated Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, at 10:53 a.m.

A 76-year-old woman testified Wednesday that one of two men who broke into her southeast Wichita home in June raped her, robbed her and then threatened to kill her if she called police.

“He had a gun to my head, and he said, ‘I mean it. If you call the police, I’m coming back, and I’m going to kill you,’ ” she testified. “I figured that he meant it.”

The woman said the man took her car keys and several items of jewelry, including the wedding ring from her finger.

“He said, ‘I want your ring, and it better come off when I start counting, or I’ll cut it off your hand,’ ” she said. “I said, ‘You’re hurting me.’ He just laughed at me.

“I started to pray, and he made fun of me,” the woman said. “He said, ‘There is no God. If there is a God, where is he?’ … I said, ‘I think I’m going to have a heart attack,’ and he said, ‘Good. Then I won’t have to kill you.’ ”

The testimony came during a preliminary hearing for John Edward Thompson, 18, one of two men charged in the June 7 attack. At the close of the hearing, which will continue on Friday, District Judge Joseph Bribiesca will decide whether there is enough evidence to bind Thompson over for trial on charges of rape, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary. Prosecutors are seeking to try a 17-year-old co-defendant in the case as an adult.

Wichita police lab investigators testified at the hearing that they recovered 13 fingerprint impressions from the woman’s home. They said six were left at the crime scene by Thompson and five were left by his juvenile co-defendant. One print was traced to the victim, investigators said, and one was never identified.

The 17-year-old, wearing a green Juvenile Detention Facility jumpsuit, sat with his lawyer in the jury box during the hearing. Thompson, wearing an orange Sedgwick County Jail jumpsuit, sat at the defense table. The two did not appear to make eye contact during the hearing.

Wichita police had said before the hearing that two intruders, one armed with a handgun, broke into the woman’s home near Lincoln and George Washington Boulevard through a basement window about 5 a.m. on June 7.

The woman, whose husband had died a month earlier, appeared wobbly as she walked to the witness stand with the help of a cane. She often appeared to be confused and kept her eyes closed during much of her two hours of testimony. Because she is in poor health, prosecutors were granted permission to videotape her testimony so it will be available for use at future hearings should she not be able to testify.

The woman testified that on the night before the attack, she went to bed with her bedroom television tuned to the Weather Channel because forecasters said there was a chance of severe weather. She was awakened by a man who had crawled onto her bed.

“A man came in the bedroom, and he said, ‘Do you know me?’ ” she testified. “I said no. I couldn’t see. It was dark. And then he pulled the covers off and got on top of me.

“I was fighting all the time, but he was so strong. I begged him to stop but he was so powerful. … I thought, ‘Why me? Why me? How did he know I was here alone?’ ”

The woman said the intruders appeared to be intent on robbing her.

“When they first came in, they wanted to know where was my cocaine and where was my marijuana,” she said. “I said, ‘I don’t do that.’ Then he said, ‘Where is your money?’ I said in the bank.”

She said the men took $3 from her purse.

After the men left, the woman said, she went across the street and asked a neighbor to call 911.

Reach Hurst Laviana at 316-268-6499 or hlaviana@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @hlaviana.

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