Physical evidence sparse in rape case

Published 3:14 pm Thursday, July 26, 2007

By Staff
Lawyers make closing arguments today
Staff Writer
Analysis of physical evidence from a 2003 Washington rape and armed-robbery case was incondusive, and therefore could not connect the accused to the crime, agents with the State Bureau of Investigation testified Wednesday.
Dock Watson, 32, formerly of Chocowinity, was back in Beaufort County Superior Court where he faces charges of first-degree rape and robbery with a dangerous weapon. Watson currently is serving a 33-year prison sentence after being convicted of raping a Chocowinity Middle School employee.
Monday, he returned to court to face charges in the second case.
Special Agent Jennifer Remy said she analyzed hair lifted from the floor of the downtown Washington store where the rape occurred. A total of 12 hairs were found, but “11 were animal hairs and one was a Caucasian head hair.”
When analyzing hair evidence from the rape kit, Remy said none of the suspect’s hair was transferred onto the victim.
Remy said hair is transferred in less than 20 percent of rape cases.
Dr. David Freeman, a special agent with the SBI’s DNA unit, testified that sperm was recovered in the rape kit, “but the DNA analysis did not match the suspect.” It matched that of the victim’s boyfriend at the time, Freeman said.
The victim testified Tuesday that a condom was used during the assault. A torn condom wrapper was discovered at the store and analyzed by Freeman, but no DNA was found, he said.
The wrapper was tested for fingerprints, but no prints were found, Freeman said.
During cross examination, defense attorney Maynard Harrell stressed the sparse physical evidence at the scene.
Freeman said no.
Tuesday, several witnesses, including the victim, described the suspect’s height as between 6 feet to 6 feet 3 inches tall. In opening statements Monday, Harrell said Watson was around 5 feet 7 inches tall.
In court Wednesday morning, Washington Detective Brad Boyd said he measured Watson at 5 feet 10 inches tall.
Angeline Daniels, who lived in the same mobile park as Dock Watson in 2003, was called to testify Wednesday. She said Watson was not at home the week of the rape or that weekend.
Her son, who was around 17 years old at the time, was at Watson’s home the weekend that crime occurred.
The victim testified that the rape and robbery occurred on July 11, 2003, which was a Friday.
Watson was not there, Daniels testified.
Daniels testified that during the following week, some time after Monday, she saw Watson at the mobile-home park. Daniels said it was “daytime” when she saw him.
Edwards asked if the mobile home park had trash-collection service and Daniels said no.
Boyd testified Tuesday that police searched Watson’s home on July 16, 2003, but found nothing from the store where the crime occurred. A week before the trial at Edwards’ request, police searched Watson’s home again, this time searching underneath the underpinning. The police recovered no evidence, Boyd said.
Court will resume at 9:30 a.m. today with opposing counsels’ arguments, closing arguments for the prosecution and defense and jury deliberations.