CLINTON — A pair of jeans.
A pink T-shirt with dirt stuck to it.
A beer carton full of empty cans.
Striped ladies’ underwear and cigarette packages.
One by one, First Assistant Clinton County Attorney Ross Barlow pulled each from brown paper bags Monday and showed them as evidence to a 12-person Clinton County jury selected earlier in the day. That jury will decide if the items and a teenage girl’s story link Clinton resident Robert Armstrong to the alleged sex abuse the girl says happened in Clinton’s Eagle Point Park last year.
Armstrong, 43, is charged with multiple counts of sex abuse in connection with the case; his brother, Michael W. Armstrong, pleaded guilty last month to two counts of sex abuse for his involvement and last week was sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.
While testimony will continue today, the victim, now 17, took the witness stand Monday. She described her version of events that happened Sunday, Aug. 7, 2005, claiming she met up with the two brothers as she was in a hurry to get home late that afternoon. She said she was near Hass market in the 100 block of South Second Street when the brothers agreed to give her a ride to her home six blocks away.
She admitted on the witness stand that she barely knew one of the brothers and the other one she did not know at all.
She said she knew something was wrong when the men did not drive her home, but instead drove to Eagle Point Park in Clinton, stopping the car in view of the castle. They gave her beer and told her she could not go home until she completed a sex act with Robert.
She said a chair was placed by the car and Robert tried to force a sex act upon her.
“I told him to stop. I told him to get off me. I told him to let me go,” she said.
When the chair fell over, she tried to run away, she said, and ran into the woods yelling for help. According to the court affidavit, Robert forced a sex act upon her in the woods.
According to testimony given Monday, she ended up on the ground and said Michael covered her mouth to stop her screaming. She said Robert held her shoulders and Michael pinned her legs. She said she then was raped by Michael.
She said she left the park on foot. It was starting to get dark and, because she didn’t want to see anyone, she decided to walk along the bike path. She never saw anyone, she said, but when she reached First Avenue and Third Street, she saw a van belonging to a man who had her babysit children in his care many times.
She and the man got into his van and she told him what happened. He drove her the three blocks to her home and the police were called. An ambulance was summoned to the scene and she was examined at the hospital.
Two Clinton police officers also took the stand Monday afternoon. Officers Rick Bray and John Davis both were involved in investigating the case. Bray was the field supervisor on the evening of Aug. 7, 2005, and went to the teen’s home; later that night he and former officer Jeromy Cowell went to Eagle Point Park to examine the scene.
Bray said the teen was upset and in a lot of pain, saying she had been raped by two black men in Eagle Point Park. The officers called park district officials so they could get in the park, arriving there around midnight. He said they found a torn condom, two condom wrappers, the underwear, beer cans and two different cigarette packages consistent with the brand of cigarettes the men smoke.
Davis testified he was put on the case on Aug. 9, 2005, and went out to investigate the scene at 1 p.m. that day. He said he found a used condom, a condom box, an empty 18-pack carton of Busch Light and beer cans that were empty and had been tossed into the wooded area near the scene of the alleged attack.
Davis said he knew both of the Armstrong brothers before the alleged incident because they all played basketball together. He said Robert was cooperative when being interviewed. Robert said he was driving when the men picked the teen up to give her a ride. He said all three headed to Eagle Point Park and his plan was to go to the park and drink alcohol. Robert also said he gave the victim a ride home from the park, Davis said.
Davis also said he used an oral swab to secure a DNA sample from Robert. None of Robert’s DNA turned up on any items seized from the alleged crime scene, Davis confirmed after questioning by defense attorney Jay Sommers.
Testimony will continue today.
CLINTON — A pair of jeans.