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home : latest news : local August 27, 2015

1/10/2013 7:52:00 AM
Trial begins for man accused of raping woman while staying at friend's home
Garin Becker
Garin Becker

Scott Orr
Special to the Tribune

PRESCOTT - Jury selection Wednesday in the case of a man accused of rape stalled briefly just as the jury was to be seated when one potential juror informed the court that he was not sure he could be impartial or fair.

Garin Becker, 25, was indicted on one count of sexual assault and one count of attempted sexual assault. He's accused of raping a woman at a home in June 2012 after the two met in a Prescott Valley bar.

The process of jury selection was completed just prior to the court's lunch break. The man came forward during lunch.

Superior Court Judge Tina Ainley spoke with a juror who said a family member had been married to an abusive man at one time, and he was unsure of his impartiality.

However, once he explained his reservations, he said he felt he could, in fact, be impartial.

"Now that I have gotten it out, I feel better," he told Ainley. "I wanted to get this off my chest. I didn't want it to come out later."

Deputy County Attorney Steve Young suggested that the trial move forward by striking the man and going with just one alternate juror, and, after some discussion, defense attorney John Hollis agreed to the plan. That leaves the jury with four men and nine women - 12 jurors and one alternate, who will be chosen later.

In his opening statement, Young described how the alleged victim, married with two children, was staying with her sister-in-law in Prescott Valley while her husband was deployed with the National Guard. The two women met up with family members and went to a couple of bars the night of June 8, he said.

Becker knew one of the victim's relatives who was out with them, and he was introduced to her, Young said.

"Admittedly, everyone was drinking that evening," he said, but "there was no flirtatious behavior on the part of (the victim)."

When the bar closed and it was time to leave, he said, Becker ended up in car with the victim, her sister-in-law and a relative, and went home with them.

She went to bed, Young said, and Becker came into her room and told her, "Your uncle tells me you put out."

She rebuffed Becker, pointing out that that she was married, Young said, but he forced himself on her and she blacked out. When she regained consciousness, Becker was leaving.

Prescott Valley police responded at about 3:30 a.m. and, after she went to the hospital and had DNA swabs done, located Becker at a friend's house and arrested him, Young said.

Defense attorney John Hollis suggested that jurors make use of their notepads to keep track of "the cast of characters in this case."

The prosecution, he argued, "will offer no evidence that this crime occurred as described by the state. The only evidence is the words of the victim."

He added that jurors should consider how all the actions described could have taken place in a small apartment without the knowledge of anyone else who was there.

"I challenge you all to find any evidence" that Becker was involved, he told the jury.

Witness testimony begins today. The trial is expected to run through Monday.

Related Stories:
• Man gets 2.5 years for sex crime against friend's niece
• After mistrial, Becker takes plea in rape case
• Jury deadlocks in trial of man accused of raping friend's niece

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