Witnesses in rape case place accused near crime

Published 3:02 pm Wednesday, July 25, 2007

By Staff
Victim first to take the stand
Staff Writer
Two witnesses corroborated a rape victim’s testimony Tuesday in Beaufort County Superior Court with matching descriptions, and then by identifying the accused, Dock Watson. But one witness was not sure Watson was the man he saw on the day of the crime.
Watson has pleaded not guilty to the July 2003 armed robbery and rape of a clerk at a downtown Washington shop. Tuesday marked the first day of testimony in his trial.
The first witness to take the stand in court Tuesday was the victim, a 31-year-old Angier woman and Washington native.
When District Attorney Seth Edwards asked the woman to describe the sexual assault, she began to cry.
During her testimony, the woman said on July 11, 2003, just after 10 a.m., a black man came into the store where she worked. Threatening her with a handgun, he told her to give him cash from the register and forced her into a back room where he raped her, she said.
The woman said her attacker was tall and wearing a blue shirt with a white shirt underneath, denim shorts and tennis shoes.
After the rape, she said, “I balled up on the floor and he took my clothes.”
The woman left the store through the front door and went into a neighboring store. “I fell in the floor and told them I was raped,” she said.
The victim identified Watson as her attacker.
Wendy Alligood, a downtown business owner, testified that a black man “looking both ways” ran inside her establishment before 10 a.m. on July 11, 2003 and locked the front door behind him.
“I thought I was going to get robbed,” Alligood said.
Alligood had her three dogs with her at work that day and gave one an attack command, she said. “He (Watson) unlocked the door and ran out,” she said.
She testified that 30 to 40 minutes later she saw the same man again walking by her business. “He was carrying something in his hand, a Wal-Mart or Food Lion bag.”
Alligood testified that the bag contained a “brightly-colored” item. She identified Watson as the man she saw.
Cyndi Bowen, who owns a downtown Washington shop with her husband, testified that she saw a black man on Main Street around 10 a.m. that July day.
The man was standing on the sidewalk behind her son, Christopher, who was leaning into backseat of the family car. “I called Christopher’s name. He (the man) came across the street in my direction.”
The man continued to walk closer to Bowen, staring at her, until he was “within 2 feet of me,” she said.
Her son, Christopher, now 17, testified that the man he saw that day was wearing similar clothing, but said he was not sure Watson was the same man. He described the man as 6 foot 5 inches tall.
Watson’s attorney, Maynard Harrell, informed the jury in his opening statements on Monday that the defendant is 5 foot 7 inches tall.
Dr. Rhonda Oeters, the emergency-room physical who examined the victim at Beaufort County Hospital following the rape, also testified Tuesday. She said there was no physical injuries present on the victim, but that evidence of injury in a rape case “is very rare.”
Before court was recessed Tuesday, Detective Brad Boyd with the Washington Police Department, testified that the victim and Alligood picked Watson out of a photo lineup, but not the first one.
The first lineup did not contain a picture of Watson, Boyd said. Both women chose a black man that most resembled the suspect, Boyd said.
Boyd testified that the victim was only “60 percent sure” about the identification she made after the first lineup. Boyd said Alligood was “85 percent sure” about her selection from the first lineup.
Both women quickly selected Watson’s photo in the second lineup, Boyd said. That lineup also contained the first man they had chosen, Boyd said.
Court resumes at 9:30 a.m. today.