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Saturday May 21st

Witnesses Testify in Case of Man Charged With Rapes

Edwards is on trial for the assaults of three women that occurred in 1999-2000 in Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

Dwayne Russell Edwards is accused of sexually assaulting three women, one of whom was assaulted at gunpoint at her Chapel Hill apartment.

The prosecution this week, the second of the trial, focused on the primary response officers who obtained evidence and gathered primary testimonies from the victims of an assault that occurred Jan. 9, 2001.

The victim's boyfriend, a UNC graduate, told the court Monday that he was forced from the bed where they were sleeping into a closet while the rape occurred.

He testified that he could hear his girlfriend begging, "Please no, please no," while the rape occurred.

The victim also identified the defendant as the man who sexually assaulted her while holding a gun in his right hand.

The prosecution continued Tuesday with Carrboro police Lt. Mike Mikels. He stated that on the night of Edwards' arrest, the defendant was wearing a pair of dark-colored running pants and a dark-colored long-sleeve jacket. The lieutenant identified them as the evidence shown to him Tuesday.

He added that on the night of the arrest, he saw two brown gloves and a black toboggan on the front seat of Edwards' black Chevrolet Cavalier. Those two pieces of clothing were identified by the victim as being on the suspect on the night of the rape.

Chapel Hill police officer Steve Lehew was also brought to the stand to corroborate Mikels' testimony that the gloves and toboggan were in the car.

Defense attorney Steve Freedman argued that in Mikels' testimony, he had stated that on the night of Edwards' apprehension that he was instructed to look for a tall black man, bald and possibly wearing gloves.

But previous statements showed Mikels was only given information to look for a tall black man possibly wearing gloves. Mikels then admitted that he had merged the identifying characteristics of Edwards and the previous suspect he had been searching for.

The prosecution put a trace evidence expert on the stand to give testimony concerning pubic hair combed from the victim. The witness said he found no pubic hairs from Edwards or anyone else on the victim.

The prosecution then questioned UNC Hospitals nurse Marie Padly, a sexual assault examiner. Padly tended to the victim Jan. 9.

She told prosecutors the girl was shaking badly when she examined her and was tearful at times when recounting what happened to her.

Padly said the victim told her a man pointed a gun at her, ordering her to take off her clothes. He partially disrobed himself and told the victim, "You know what to do," forcing her to perform oral sex. The man then forced her onto the bed and raped her vaginally and attempted to anally penetrate her as well, Padly said the victim told her.

She also stated that in no way was the victim physically injured when she examined her. She explained that within her experience it was not unusual to find victims without injuries if they comply with their attacker's demands.

John Moore, the head investigator in the case, confirmed that the victim had told him the same information she had given Padly. He also testified that the victim was able to identify the defendant in a photo lineup hours after her rape.

He also confirmed that the boyfriend had lied to the police by saying that the rapist had found him on the couch. He had been in bed with the victim but told police a different story because of personal reasons.

The trial is expected to conclude next week.

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