By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE prosecution’s closing statement to a jury expected to deliver a verdict today on whether Oscar Ingraham raped a woman in her home the night of an island-wide power outage urged them to “take the evidence of the silent witness”.
Yesterday, Darell Taylor told the jury the “same person who broke into the home of the complainant, the same person who robbed her at gunpoint, the same person who raped her, we say that is Oscar Ingraham.”
The prosecutor submitted that there was a silent witness present during the heinous event that transpired the night between 11pm on May 29 and 5am on May 30, 2012. “This witness is a witness that does not forget,” she said.
“It is a factual witness and we submit to you that witness is the DNA of Oscar Ingraham,” Ms Taylor said. “This case,” she added, “is a case of identification.”
In noting the different kinds of identification, including voice, sight and fingerprint recognition, “the identification of Oscar Ingraham is found in his DNA”.
The prosecutor told the jury that it heard evidence from a number of witnesses, including the complainant “and that was a horrifying and less than dignifying experience she had to relive”.
“You heard her even plead for mercy and you heard what the person said to her, ‘I’m going to f* my grandmother tonight,” the prosecutor reminded the nine jurors.
The prosecutor also referenced the evidence of the examining physician, who in documenting the abrasions and tenderness of the vagina of the complainant, concluded that “something aggressive happened to her”.
She further noted that the chain of custody for the sexual assault kit that was taken was never broken. She advised the jury to dismiss Ingraham’s claim that he was being conspired against, in reference to the evidence of the analyst who noted that four other suspects were being considered in the tests that she performed.
DNA profiles for the four suspects were excluded from the vaginal swab and panty cutting that were examined. The Crown noted that Ingraham was found to be a minor contributor to the mixed profile found on the panty cutting.
“There was a silent witness in that room when the complainant was so heinously violated. And the silent witness is his DNA evidence. The DNA evidence puts him there,” the prosecutor added.
In the last session of the trial which saw the Crown make their closing arguments, Ms Taylor told the jury to “not be fooled” by the “quite intelligent young man” who attempted to play on their emotions during his defence.
The prosecutor submitted that they should return a guilty verdict because Ingraham was identified as the “predator and rapist” by the silent witness to the rape of the complainant.
“Take the evidence of the silent witness, the DNA,” the prosecutor, said before inviting the jury to return guilty verdicts when they conclude their deliberations.
Ingraham, 30, of Claridge Road, faces a count each of burglary, armed robbery and rape.
It is alleged that he broke into the woman’s western New Providence home and robbed her of $165 cash and a $200 Nokia cell phone before sexually assaulting her with a gun to her head.
Ingraham has denied the charges. He chose to defend himself.
Ms Taylor and Raquel Whyms are prosecuting for the Crown. They relied on DNA evidence to prove their case against the accused.
At the start of the trial, the jury heard from the complainant of how she, on May 29, 2012, had left church around 7:30pm and gone home to watch television when the electricity was cut three hours later.
Having changed into her night clothes she fell asleep in her bedroom where she later “felt a presence”, which she likened to the feeling of being “hagged” by spirits.
She realised someone was actually in her home when a long hand came across her mouth and despite her pleas for him not to rape her after she told him she had no money, he sexually assaulted her with a gun to her head.
However, the complainant was unable to identify her attacker other than the fact that he was lean and had a cornrow hairstyle.
The analyst said that the minor contributor she found from the tests she conducted were not sufficient to obtain a full DNA profile.
In cross-examination, when asked if his blood sample had been one of the items she received in July 2012, she said no. “Not in this case number,” she added.
On Tuesday, Ingraham opted to give sworn testimony as opposed to remaining silent to the case the prosecution had brought against him.
He told the jury he was with his girlfriend on the evening of June 28, 2012, at a cousin’s house when he received reports that police had a wanted advertisement out for him.
“I went to the police station after I was told of this and when I reach in there, the officers said I would have to be arrested,” the jury was told.
Ingraham told the court that Central Detective Unit officers put him in an identification parade. But he got the impression that it did not go the way the officers wanted as they then escorted him in handcuffs to a separate room where they proceeded to make him agree to sign statements of which he had no knowledge.
Ingraham said his feet were shackled and they put a bag over his head while beating him about his body.
“Where the gun?” he said they asked, “I say ‘officers, I only see gun when I see y’all or on TV’.”
The defendant said they accused him of rape, despite his protests against the accusations.
In making his closing arguments to the jury, Ingraham emphasised that he was being conspired against and insisted that “I’ ain rape no one.”
“Something fishy is going on,” he said, as he spoke to how officers claimed they didn’t notice any injuries to his face, but the physician who examined him at the hospital did.
He also found it suspicious that, based on his observations, the panty photographed at the scene and the one shown during testimony by the forensic analyst were different colours.
He also questioned the integrity of the Crown’s DNA evidence noting that only a label identified a blood sample as his. “I’m in quicksand,” he told the jury.
Justice Carolita Bethell will summarise the evidence before excusing the jury to deliberate the verdicts for the three charges.