The prosecution presented part of its case Tuesday in the trial of David DeSimone, 53, of Clinton.
DeSimone is charged with sexual abuse in the third degree for an alleged incident on Oct. 17, 2004.
Attorneys Scott Brown and Denise Timmins, from the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, are prosecuting the case.
Tuesday morning, the alleged victim told her version of what happened that night.
She told the court that on the night of Oct. 16, when she was 17 years old, she attended an 18th birthday party for her friend, Ashley Zmuda, at the defendant’s home. She testified that she was wearing tennis shoes, a light pair of jeans, a T-shirt, a hooded sweatshirt and eyeglasses and was carrying a black purse.
Brown had her look at photographs of DeSimone’s residence and identify it as the residence where the party occurred. He also had her identify her purse from some photographs. These were entered into evidence.
The alleged victim testified that she did not know DeSimone prior to that night and met him when she arrived at the home. She told the court that he pulled her aside and tried to take her into his upstairs bedroom to make sure there would be no problem because the father of her child, who is also Ashley Zmuda’s brother, was at the party with his girlfriend.
The alleged victim testified that she went into the living room upstairs and began drinking beer which was provided and became inebriated throughout the night.
She claimed that at one point, the defendant sat to the right of her and kept telling her to “drink up.”
During cross examination, Defense Attorney Harold DeLange asked her if she was extremely drunk, had participated in two keg stands and had no memory of large blocks of time. The alleged victim agreed. He asked if it was true she had blacked out twice, once in which she woke up at the kitchen table. She responded that she did not recall. He had her read from previous testimony she gave that said this. He also asked if she had ever said she was delusional that night and she responded that she did not recall. He once again had her read from previous testimony.
DeLange stated that her testimony Tuesday was not exactly the same as in previous statements. She pointed out that the incident occurred more than seven years ago.
The alleged victim continued that after she became intoxicated, she awoke in DeSimone’s bed on her back, naked, without her glasses, and her tampon had been removed. According to her, the overhead light was on and DeSimone was standing in the room with a blanket around his shoulder. She told the court that when he realized she was waking up, the defendant flipped the light off and jumped on top of her and she realized he had no clothing on. She continued, saying that she tried to fight, pushing at him with her arms and told him that the father of her son was going to “mess him up.” She then claimed he grabbed her by the throat and pushed his thumb under her jawline, telling her that no one would hear her scream. At that point, she quit fighting him.
“After that I got very scared,” the alleged victim said. “I didn’t want to fight. I just wanted it to be over.”
She then told the court that the defendant began to have sexual relations with her.
“He told me he wouldn’t leave any evidence behind,” she told the court.
The alleged victim said at this point she began getting ill and vomited off the side of the bed, onto her hair, her shoulder, the bedding and the floor.
“I remember I kept saying I just wanted to go home,” the alleged victim said.
She then told the court that the defendant told her to stay on the bed and got her shirt, pants and hooded sweatshirt and gave them to her. She said she put them on, along with her shoes, but does not recall putting her bra and underwear back on. She then fled from the residence without her purse or glasses, according to her testimony.
“I never stopped crying,” she said about the alleged assault.
The alleged victim told the court that she headed east on Camanche Avenue by foot and tried to stop two vehicles for help, but they did not stop.
She ran to Hy-Vee, because she saw it was still open.
She spoke to a worker at Hy-Vee, Jeffrey Hereid, and asked to use the store’s phone. She called her friend, a person she’s known since second grade, Alexia Scheper, now Alexia Naranjo, and asked her to come to the store.
That night Naranjo was staying at the home of Sara Riddle and Pam Zmuda. The alleged victim then asked for a cigarette and stepped outside to clear her thoughts. After walking back in, she told the court that she asked to use the phone again and dialed 911. Brown asked her why she called her friend before the police.
“Because she’s my best friend and I was scared and I didn’t know what I was supposed to do,” she said.
The alleged victim told the court that officer Bradley Nolan arrived right before Naranjo and Riddle did. Both she and Nolan testified that she was taken to the hospital for an examination and a sexual assault kit. She was taken by DeSimone’s home and pointed it out and was then taken to the Clinton police station to look at a photo line up.
During cross examination, DeLange asked the victim if DeSimone was using a lot of force when he allegedly grabbed her by the throat and if the alleged sexual contact was rough. She agreed it was. DeLange also asked if she cleaned herself off before leaving the residence, to which she replied no. He also asked her about calling her friends first. He said Pam Zmuda is Riddle’s mother and was at one point related to Toni Zmuda, who is the grandmother of the alleged victim’s son. He asked if she ever testified that Toni Zmuda does not like DeSimone. She said she did not recall.
Brown asked the alleged victim if she remembers her state of mind when she was running from the residence to Hy-Vee.
“I just couldn’t believe what had just happened,” she said.
Brown and Timmins called other witnesses to corroborate the victim’s testimony of that night.
Hereid testified he was working the third shift as an assistant manager on Oct. 17, 2004 at Hy-Vee when the victim came into the store at approximately 3 a.m. He told the court that she was crying, her clothing looked like it had been thrown back on and her hair was very messy. He said she did not seem like she wanted to talk to him, so he did not get too close when he asked her if she needed help.
Hereid said it was difficult to understand her because she was crying, but he heard her say that she was raped. She asked to use the store’s phone. He did not know who she called, but it did not sound like the police. She then asked for a cigarette and he got one from an employee and she went outside.
DeLange asked Hereid if he had previously reported that she had told him she was raped in the parking lot. He said that she said a string of words he could not understand, but he heard the words parking lot at the end. He thought she might have said she walked across the parking lot to get to the store. DeLange asked then if the police report stated he said she had told him she was raped in the parking lot would that be incorrect. Hereid said it would.
When she came back in, she told him someone was coming for her and he asked her if she had called the police. Hereid told the court she seemed hesitant and he advised her that is what he would do. She asked for the phone again and dialed 911. She then went outside to wait for the police.
DeLange asked Hereid if he smelled any alcohol or vomit on her. He said he did not, but did not get too close to her.
“She was crying pretty bad and I did not want to upset her any more,” Hereid said.
DeLange asked Hereid if her friends arrived before the police did. He was not sure. Brown asked him if he had other customers who distracted him from everything that occurred with the alleged victim, her friends and the police. He said yes.
Naranjo and Riddle were called to the stand. They each remembered Naranjo getting a call on her cellphone and being awakened. Naranjo testified that she thought it came from the alleged victim’s own cellphone, but did recognize her friend’s voice. She put the call on speaker phone.
They recalled the alleged victim was upset and said she had been raped. Naranjo said she identified the person who allegedly raped her as DeSimone, whom she called “Dave,” but Riddle did not recall her identifying who attacked her. The alleged victim asked Naranjo to come to Hy-Vee because she needed her and they both testified to running right out the door. They also both told the court that they arrived right around the time the police officer did.
Naranjo approached the alleged victim, but Riddle did not. They stayed with her until the officer took her to Mercy Medical Center North. Riddle described the alleged victim when they arrived on the scene.
“Like she had watched someone be murdered. She was as white as a ghost,” Riddle said. She added that she was crying.
DeLange asked both witnesses if they smelled any alcohol or vomit or saw any physical injuries on the alleged victim. Neither recalled smelling or seeing these things. They both agreed that they only knew what the alleged victim told them.
Nolan also testified about that day. Nolan is currently a special agent with the Division of Intelligence at the state police office. In 2004, he was a patrol officer for Clinton Police. He was dispatched to Hy-Vee around 3:06 a.m. and said he arrived on scene very shortly after. He confirmed that after he began speaking to the alleged victim, he noticed she was intoxicated.
After 10 to 15 minutes, Nolan took her to Mercy Medical Center North where a sexual assault kit was used to collect evidence and waited for her for approximately 30 minutes to an hour. While she was waiting for the doctor, she gave him more details that were later used for a search warrant.
After leaving the hospital, they drove past the defendant’s home, which Nolan identified as 1143 Camanche Ave., and she pointed it out. He then took her to the station and he began working on the search warrant, which included the residence for the purpose of finding the alleged victim’s underwear, purse and glasses, as well as any bedding and other items typical in a sexual assault case.
Nolan testified they executed the search warrant at approximately noon, but were delayed because the address on the warrant was wrong since DeSimone lived upstairs at 1143 1/2 Camanche Ave. Officers waited until the warrant was corrected. Nolan said DeSimone was cooperative.
Brown took Nolan through the house room by room, showing pictures as state’s exhibits. The alleged victim’s glasses were found in the upstairs kitchen and the purse was found in the living room. Nolan testified that her underwear was not found. Bedding was taken for analysis from DeSimone’s bedroom.
DeLange asked Nolan if a cellphone was found. He did not know. Nolan confirmed that he did not smell any vomit or see any blood in the bedroom.
The search also went into the basement, where the washer and dryer were located. Nolan testified that they found a pile of bedding, including a white blanket with a flower on it, near the stairs.
DeLange asked if Nolan saw any evidence that someone had tried to destroy or alter evidence. Nolan said no. Brown then asked him the condition of the residence and Nolan stated it was rather messy. Brown asked him if he would have had any idea if someone tried to alter or destroy evidence and he said no.
Scott Stockleger, a forensic scientist specializing in DNA testing at the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation lab in Ankeny, testified that he reviewed items for the case looking for DNA evidence.
He reviewed a swab and smear from a rape kit looking for sperm or seminal fluid for the case. He did not find any. However, he said if ejaculation did not occur or someone was wearing a condom, they would not be present.
He said sperm might also not be present if a person’s sperm count was low. DeLange had him confirm that he did not know if DeSimone had a low sperm count. Stockleger testified he did find matching the alleged victim on her jeans. He also tested a floral blanket which was collected and found two stains that contained sperm matching the defendant. After being asked by DeLange he confirmed that he could not tell when it was made and it would not be too unusual to find a male’s sperm on their own blanket.
Joe Baker testified that he did see the alleged victim in DeSimone’s bed the morning of Oct. 17, 2004. He had been at the party for his then girlfriend Ashley Zmuda and also testified he drank a lot that night. Baker testified to being very intoxicated and falling asleep on the couch. Sometime early morning on Oct. 17, 2004, he woke up and decided to leave, and headed to DeSimone’s bedroom for his coat. He testified that DeSimone opened his bedroom door and was inside the room with the alleged victim who appeared to be asleep, fully clothed.