Witness may have seen stolen goods

Andrew Tellijohn

Testimony Friday by an acquaintance of the four men charged in a burglary and rape incident near the University last October implicated all four suspects in the break-in.
Rachel Kemptner was one of several witnesses during the second day of testimony in the trial of Puiassance Andersen, who is charged with 11 counts of aiding and abetting burglary and sexual assault. Her testimony finished a day in which the second rape victim took the stand, and police testimony revealed the perpetrators were nearly caught at the scene.
Kemptner met Andersen, his brother Giezwa, Antonio Burton and Victor Porter through her boyfriend, an acquaintance of the suspects. She testified that the four men went to her apartment the morning after the burglary.
While they were at her apartment, they had with them items allegedly stolen from the victims and talked about the events of the night before, she said.
When prosecuting attorney Steve Redding asked Kemptner if she questioned where the men obtained the goods, she said, “I didn’t have to. They were already talking about it.”
She testified that Burton bragged several times throughout the day about having sex with the women, including once while the incident was being recounted on the late night news.
“He said, ‘Look, look, that’s it. That’s us,'” or that was what they’d done, Kemptner said.
While Burton seemed excited about what he had done, the other three reprimanded him, asking him why he assaulted the women and calling him “stupid,” she said.
Kemptner testified that the men spent most of the day at her apartment. She said Puiassance Andersen and Porter tried to sell some stereo equipment at a pawn shop a few blocks from her apartment building during the afternoon.
The equipment was allegedly stolen from three women living in an off-campus apartment complex near Dinkytown on the night of Oct. 8, 1996. During the break-in, two of the women were raped, and stereo equipment and jewelry were among the items stolen from the apartment.
Andersen and Burton were later arrested in Eau Claire, Wis., after a high-speed chase. The car they were driving belonged to one of the women from the apartment.
Porter pleaded guilty in February to one count of burglary in exchange for having the rest of the charges against him dropped. He will likely testify against the other men.
Kemptner was not finished testifying when court recessed Friday; she will resume this morning. However, before her testimony began, defense attorney Paul Schneck objected to her testimony, saying it was hearsay. Judge Mary Steenson allowed Kemptner to testify only about what the men told her, not what she overheard them discussing among themselves.
Other testimony Friday revealed that police were very close to catching the burglars at the scene of the crime. Police first received a call about the incident from neighbors, who heard noises outside the building.
Anne Tuchfarber, a University student and one of the upstairs neighbors to the women, testified that she was awakened at about 3:40 a.m. by noises outside her apartment. She looked out the window and saw three men jumping off a balcony and carrying “things” toward a royal blue car.
Tuchfarber said she woke her roommate, who then called 911. Tuchfarber continued to watch the men and dictate details of the situation for her roommate to tell the 911 operator.
Officers responded to the call immediately but were delayed because they were new to the precinct and unfamiliar with the area, as the testimony of two officers revealed. The area contains winding streets, and the street names change several times within a few blocks.
Officer Brian Miller said he was within two blocks of the apartment building upon receiving the call, but had to consult his map to orient himself before leaving. Instead of reaching the area in a few seconds, it took Miller a couple of minutes. The burglars had left the apartment complex by the time he arrived.
Earlier Friday morning, as several friends watched from the front rows of the courtroom, the second sexual-assault victim recounted the incident.
Stuffing a small teddy bear into her pocket as she was sworn to tell the truth, she testified that she spent the evening of Oct. 8. 1996 with sorority sisters working on homecoming activities, then she went home and sent a few e-mail messages before going to bed.
She said her roommate locked the front door to the apartment and yelled at her for forgetting. A patio door, however, was locked earlier in the afternoon, but not checked before the women went to sleep. She said they had problems getting that door locked from the time they moved in.
Shortly after going to bed she said she was awakened by the sensation of a sharp knife or scissors at her throat and a man’s voice asking her “where the fucking money was.”
She gave the intruder $40 before being led into the other bedroom where a comforter was placed over her and her roommates’ heads. She and her roommate were then sexually assaulted.
Her testimony indicated that the other men had not expected rape to be a part of the situation. She said she heard one of them ask the rapist “What are you doing?” but that he didn’t tell the man to stop.
On cross-examination, she confirmed to Schneck that she heard the name “Pete” during the incident, not “P,” a nickname used by Andersen. Another witness indicated the name “Jim” might have been heard by the victims, as well.
Prosecutors will continue questioning witnesses today, including Kemptner and other acquaintances of the men.