In September 2003, my twin sister babysat my 2 year old son so I could go out with friends. On the drive home, I got a flat tire and a man pulled off the highway to ‘help’ me. After pretending to fix the tire and failing, he offered to drive me to a gas station. Once in his car, he beat me, raped me, and planned on how to kill me. Luckily, a nearby construction worker interrupted my attacker and I escaped. My rapist left the scene. I reported everything to the police and had a rape kit completed.
Several months later, the police caught my attacker breaking into a woman’s house and pinned him back to my case with DNA evidence. My case went to trial with a grand jury for 5 days in 2005. I testified. I was cross examined. And it was like being raped again. He was convicted of 2nd degree rape and was sentenced to 20 years in jail.
I wish I could say that is the end of my story. In a rare turn of events, my case was over turned by an appeal. The appeal was based on a witness qualification and some ‘he said, she said’ questions. My second 5 day trial was in Oct 2009. Again, I had a choice and I chose to testify in order to keep this monster in jail. He was convicted yet again and sentenced to 20 years again. The judge came out from his chambers after the guilty verdict to thank me for having the strength to testify again.
In May 2011, I had hurt my back and couldn’t walk for 6 weeks. While trying to heal, I got the worst phone call of my life. The district attorneys in charge of my case called to tell me that the Special Court of Appeals in Maryland had overturned my case yet again. This time it was due to jury instruction.
I felt I had come so far. I felt I had to stand up for my rights as a victim. Stand up for future victims. So, I decided to put myself through remembering all of the gruesome details of my ordeal. Details I had spent years trying to forget.
In January 2012, I testified yet again. For a third time. Only this time, there was a different outcome. The jury found him not guilty. Everything I had fought for was lost. And he was free. I got no retrial. I got no do over. I did get to speak at his release. I stood up in front of the judge, lawyers, and him and spoke my mind. That was my redemption.
After he was free, I moved to another state to feel safe. It has taken me until recently to feel whole again. Now, I resolve to tell my story about a broken justice system and how I stood up to my rapist again and again and again. I hope to complete writing my book and self-publish it in 2014.