Third woman testifies in trial

Joe Carlson

The one woman who was spared from sexual attack took the stand Tuesday in the trial of alleged rapist Antonio Burton in Hennepin County District Court.
The woman was the only of three University students who was not raped in the Oct. 8, 1996 break-in in which Burton was implicated with three other men.
In a narrative, matter-of-fact tone, she recounted for the jury the evening’s events.
She described how she woke up to voices that night, but assumed it was one of her roommates, who was known to come home late. She testified that shortly after, a man was holding a knife to the back of her neck and demanding money.
After gesturing to a jar containing $7, she said she was poked with the knife and told to get down on the ground, when her head was covered with a blanket. Her two roommates were brought into her bedroom next, where the woman testified she felt the floor rumbling while the rapes occurred.
She also testified Monday that one of the men asked who an army uniform hanging in the room belonged to. When she told him it was hers, the man said, “I won’t mess with you then.”
The woman said she thought the same man raped both women.
“I remember a man telling (one roommate) to get up, and I remember (her) screaming, “I’m a virgin!'”
After the sexual assaults, one of the women offered the men her cash card and a PIN number which she said could access an account with $2,000 in it. The men also stole some jewelry, a television and one woman’s car.
Burton faces 11 counts of aiding and abetting burglary, robbery and criminal sexual conduct stemming from the incident.
Giezwa Andersen, his brother Puiassance, and Victor Porter have all either stood trial or pleaded guilty to charges of burglary and robbery from the incident. None were convicted for involvement in the rapes.
Defense attorney Joseph Margulies contends that while the apartment was in fact burglarized and the women raped, it was Puiassance Andersen, not Burton, who committed the crime.
Sgt. Timothy Opdyke of the Minneapolis sex crimes unit testified that he discovered a cellular phone stolen from the crime scene in a St. Paul apartment where Porter was also found and arrested.
A woman who lived directly above the victims’ apartment and called 911 also testified, as well as the nurse who examined the victims the night of the attack. She said no sperm or identifiable biological fluids were found on the women during her examination.
The prosecution will continue calling witnesses today.