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Rape trial verdict expected

The jury trial in a 2008 rape and abduction case continued Thursday, with the victim and the defendant presenting conflicting stories of what happened on Oct. 10, 2008.

Christopher Rashard Taylor, 31, is accused of three counts of rape, one count of abduction, one count of robbery, one count of malicious wounding, one count of use or display of a firearm in commission of a felony, one count of stabbing, and one count of carjacking. The verdict will be decided Friday.

Testimony on Thursday began with the victim, who is not being named because she is the victim of a sex crime. The woman described how an attacker allegedly abducted her from the front door of her apartment about 2 a.m. that night, took her car and brought her to the railroad tracks in the vicinity of Old Dill Road. There, he allegedly sat on her back, slit her throat and then tried to dab her bloody wound with her bra.

At one point during her testimony, the victim walked in front of the jury box pointing to the scar on her neck from the alleged assault.

“He told me he had to make me unconscious,” said the victim, who reported she was being strangled with a belt. The woman said she started moving around so that she could keep breathing.

“He told me, ‘You’re a strong little thing, you’re not going to go down for nothing,’” the victim said.

Eventually, she stopped moving to make him think she was unconscious, the victim said. He then allegedly dragged her into the woods. The woman was raped a total of four times, she said.

“I asked him why he was doing this to me and could he please stop,” the woman said.

Passing in and out of consciousness throughout the night, the woman was tied to a log and saw the man go through several changes of clothes, she said, including a green T-shirt and baseball cap with a lawn service logo on it.

“He told me to stop looking at him because I was trying to memorize his face,” the victim said.

The next time the woman woke up, she heard the sound of school buses and children. The man was gone, she said. She vomited and passed out again.

Awake again, later, the woman eventually got out of her bindings and began to run through the woods. She got so weak that she fell, and began to crawl. To keep her strength, she began singing “The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength,” she said.

“When I started singing that song, I knew I was going to get out of there,” the woman said.

Describing how she escaped from her 14-hour ordeal, the woman spoke through tears. Several of her friends and family left the courtroom crying.

The woman made it to Old Dill Road in the 800 block, she said. She rang the bell at a home, but nobody came to the door. She sat in a lawn chair at the home, until she saw a man across the street on a tractor. He called 911 from his cell phone as the woman fell once more, exhausted from her ordeal.

Detective John McCarley was one of the first people on the scene.

“My immediate thought was it was going to be a death investigation, because she appeared to be dead,” McCarley said.

A sexual assault nurse examiner, Connie Andrews, testified that she found injuries on the victim’s body consistent with blunt force trauma. In addition, there was matted blood, dirt, twigs, leaves and other debris in the victim’s hair, she said, and the woman had several injuries to her face, arms and legs.

Police focused on Taylor when investigating the alleged crimes, because he could not be eliminated as the source of the DNA that allegedly was found on the shirt used to gag the victim, as well as on a condom used in the assault. The victim’s cell phone was found across the street from Taylor’s home, and she identified him in a photo lineup, McCarley testified.

Taylor also had several green T-shirts and a green baseball cap with a lawn service logo in his home, McCarley said.

Taylor’s defense attorney, Michael Fasanaro Jr., called into question the commonwealth’s evidence, pointing out that crime lab technicians did not test every piece of evidence for DNA. He also called his own expert witness, who was retained by the defendant’s family to test the evidence.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Marie Walls, however, called into question the witness’s testimony, making the point that the man had never talked to anybody but the defense in order to get information on the case.

Taylor himself also took the stand in his own defense, dressed in pants and a blue striped shirt. He said he never ate at the fast food restaurant where the victim worked.

“I swear, I never seen her before,” Taylor said.

Both sides rested their cases on Thursday, and the jury will begin deliberations on a verdict on Friday morning.