In some criminal cases, police will rely on witness statements in order to positively identify a suspect. As part of a comprehensive criminal defense strategy, these witness statements can be called into question. In some cases, people may not have the ability to correctly identify someone or they may have some other bias that makes their testimony unreliable.
In a recent Chicago case, a 23-year-old man is facing two different sexual assaults charges. According to police, the man attacked a 61-year-old woman and a 22-year-old woman on the same night, in the same Back of the Yards neighborhood apartment building.
Police claim that the first sexual assault occurred after the man knocked on the door of a 61-year-old woman he knew. When the woman let him in, the man supposedly grabbed the woman’s neck and sexually assaulted her in her home.
The second supposed attack occurred, according to police records, after the man met a woman at a convenience store later that same evening. The woman and her friend agreed to come back to the apartment building with the man. While at the apartment building, police say the man separated the women and sexually assaulted one in the building’s stairwell after choking her. Police claim that the man eventually fled the scene with this woman’s purse and phone.
These attacks supposedly happened in July, but the man was not identified and arrested until the end of August. He is now being held in jail on $725,000 bond.
Police are relying on the alleged victim’s statements as proof that this man was their attacker. The man, and those in similar situations, may want to question the accuracy of the victim’s statements — as well as pursue other criminal defense options. Sex assault charges are serious and can lead to severe punishment if a proper defense is not presented.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “Prosecutors: Man sexually assaulted 2 women in same building, same night,” Geoff Ziezulewicz, Aug. 25, 2013