Break-in victims tell their stories

Kamariea Forcier

and Andrew Tellijohn

Two of three victims in an October rape and burglary incident near the University were the first to take the stand in the trial against Puiassance J. Andersen on Thursday at the Hennepin County courthouse.
On the stand, one witness gave a detailed description of what happened in the apartment she shared with two other women last October.
During the incident, the three women were awakened by several strange men in their apartment. The men forced the girls into one room and made them lie on the floor, keeping their heads covered. While in the room together, two of the women were raped.
Andersen and Antonio D. Burton were later arrested in Eau Claire, Wis., after a car chase that reached speeds in excess of 100 mph. The vehicle was identified as belonging to one of the victims, which tipped off police to the men’s probable involvement with the Minnesota crime.
The witness said the women were threatened several times during the incident, and the burglars kept asking where their money was.
“They said we were ‘rich college white kids and knew we had money,'” she said.
Aside from testifying that she could distinguish the voices of the men, the woman, who was not raped, said while the sexual assaults were taking place, she could see two pairs of legs in the doorway of the room.
She said she could not see her roommates being raped, but said that she knew the women were being assaulted by the sounds and movements in the room.
“I heard a belt buckle being undone and a zipper,” she said, looking out towards the defense table. “And I heard my roommate … call out ‘I’m a virgin.'”
She said the rapist said to the women, “You better start talking now, or someone’s gonna get hurt. Someone’s gonna get hurt real bad.”
During testimony, her head dropped to her chest for a moment before she raised it up again to face the courtroom. Pressing a tissue to her face, she said, “I had thought since (the other women were) raped, that I was next. I was trying to just numb my body.”
But she heard two attackers discussing her military status, which they discerned from a uniform, medals and other items found in her bedroom after her roommates had been raped. “What about her?” one man said. “No, she’s in the military — she might be trouble,” was the response.
The prosecution is expected to call the third victim early Friday morning. Then Redding will call police officers who both immediately went to the scene and investigated later.
Andersen’s brother, Giezwa Andersen, and acquaintance Burton also face charges stemming from the October incident. Another man, Victor M. Porter, pleaded guilty to one count of burglary in exchange for his testimony against the other three. He will be sentenced in May.