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Monday, September 4, 2006

Duke Case: The Durham Strangler


The real Durham Strangler: Mike Nifong
Strangling is serious business. When you strangle someone that means you want to kill them by squeezing their throat so as to choke or suffocate them. If you were strangled during a criminal assault you would never forget it.

When your air supply was cut off you would frantically start gasping for breath. Your mind would be in a panic as you wondered if this was the end. You would struggle with every ounce of energy and use any means possible to fight for one more breath. It is the brutal last dance of death. If you survived a strangling assault you would be red faced and gasping for air. You would be very happy to be alive and still breathing. A prayer of thanks might even be uttered. The attempted strangulation would stay with your for a long time, it might even haunt you the rest of your life.

The alleged victim forgot to mention her strangulation for two days?

Coping with a strangling nightmare is not the case for this alleged victim of the Duke lacrosse gang rape. The woman in this case forgot about being strangled for two days after her reported March 14th alleged sexual assault.

This is another major problem confronting Durham DA Mike Nifong as he proceeds with the prosecution of the rape hoax. The truth is indeed a terrible enemy for Mr. Nifong.

From what we know the first time the word "strangled" is seen or used in this case was in the March 16th Probable Cause Affidavit from Det. Benjamin Himan. It was used to obtain the search warrant for the Duke lacrosse party house. The affidavit said:

The victim stated that she tried to leave, but the three males (Adam, Bret, and Matt) forcefully held her legs arms and raped and sexually assaulted her anally, vaginally and orally. The victim stated she was hit, kicked, and strangled during the assault. As she attempted to defend herself, she was overpowered. The victim reported she was sexually assaulted for an approximately 30 minute time period by the three males.
The description of the attempted strangulation must certainly be included in some of the 1850+ pages of discovery information that Nifong has turned over to the defense. The question is how many reports of strangulation or choking does Nifong really have? It seems the alleged victim finally remembered her strangulation on March 16th when she had had an hour long interview with Sergeant Gottlieb and Officer Benjamin W. Himan. The NY Times described that interview as follows:
The next day, March 16, Sergeant Gottlieb and the lead investigator under his supervision, Officer Benjamin W. Himan, went to the woman’s house...

During that interview, the woman, who is dark skinned, said bruises were beginning to show from the attack. A female officer took photographs and confirmed that "she had the onset of new bruises present," Sergeant Gottlieb wrote. (The female officer’s report does not mention bruises.)

The woman spoke for an hour. She talked about her life "joining the Navy and moving to California shortly after finishing high school, marrying a man 14 years her senior, becoming pregnant by a sailor, returning home to North Carolina and getting divorced" and gave a detailed account of the lacrosse party. "Tears ran down her face freely, and her nose began to run," the sergeant wrote.
Shortly after this interview Investigator Himan typed out and signed the Probable Cause Affidavit that was used to obtain the search warrant for the Duke lacrosse party house at 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. This started the chain of events involving the search of the house and the non-custodial interviews with the team captains that all happened on March 16th.

So far, there do not appear to be any police or medical reports of strangulation or choking from the day of the assault, March 14th, when the alleged victim spoke with several police officers, and was examined at Durham Access and Duke Hospital. Also, there do not appear to be any medical reports of strangulation or choking from the day after the assault, March 15th. That is when the alleged victim saw two doctors at UNC Hospitals.

List of witnesses that did not hear a word from the alleged victim about being strangled:

March 14th between midnight and 11:00 am:

>Kim Roberts, dance partner
>Angel Altmon, Kroger security guard
>Sergeant John Shelton, first responder and he also talked to her at Duke Hospital
>Officer Joseph Stewart & his partner, drove women to Durham Access

3 persons at Durham Access, mental health facility
(Alycia Wright, Mariecia Smith, and Gerri Lomuriel Wilkes) -
>registered nurse at Durham Access
>supervisor at Durham Access
>security guard at Durham Access

>Officer Willie Barfield, drove women from Durham Access to Duke hospital
>Officer Gwendolyn Sutton, talked to alleged victim at hospital

>Dr. Joshua S. Broder, did initial examination in the Duke emergency room.
>2nd ER doctor
>four ER nurses

>Tara Levicy, the sexual-assault nurse
>Dr. Julie Manly, sexual-assault specialist

March 15 -

>the woman saw two doctors at UNC Hospitals (Dr. Yvonne E. Lai & Dr. ?). She reported neck pain but no strangulation.

She also saw her father the day after the incident, but said nothing. In one news report he said:
The retired trucker who lives in Durham said he saw his daughter the day after the reported attack, but she didn't say anything was wrong...

Her father, a quiet man who tinkers on cars as a hobby, said he saw news reports about the attack.

"I didn't know it was my daughter," he said...

Last week, a reporter stopped by the reported victim's house looking for her, the woman's father said, but he said he didn't know what was going on. He called his daughter and she said the district attorney told her not talk to anyone.

"(She) didn't tell us anything about it," he said.
That is at least twenty-one persons by this count, over two days, who did not hear a word from the alleged victim about her being strangled.

Dr. Julie Manly, the sexual-assault specialist, "found the woman's head, back, neck, chest, nose, throat, mouth, abdomen, arms and legs all normal."

The News & Observer reported:

The next day, March 15, the woman saw two doctors at UNC Hospitals, where she had gone for health care before. Her primary complaint was neck pain. She told doctors she was dancing at a bachelor party and wanted to leave, but the other girls wanted her to stay. She said she was pushed into a bathroom and raped by three men.

"She was knocked to the floor multiple times and hit her head on the sink during one of these episodes," the UNC records said. "She states she was drunk and had a lot of alcohol that night. She denied any pain in the emergency room because she was 'drunk and did not feel pain.' "

Yes, the woman does have neck pain on March 15th, but that was attributed to being "knocked to the floor" and she "hit her head on the sink." It should really be attributed to falling down the back steps at the Duke house and sprawling there for seven minutes. Also getting physically yanked out of Kim Roberts' car by Sergeant Shelton certainly didn't help. Shelton's report said:
"I grabbed the female and attempted to pull her from the vehicle. She grabbed the emergency brake with her left hand and would not come out of the car. At this point, I applied a bent wrist come-along [maneuver] to her right-hand arm? once she was out of the car, I released the pressure and she collapsed to the ground."
Not until March 16th, when her neck must have really stiffened up, does the alleged victim recalled that she had been strangled. That is when she first told Gottlieb and Himan that she was strangled and they believed her sob story.

There is a morbid fascination with strangulation. If the woman had mentioned the words "choked" or "strangled" that would have been easily remembered and reported. If the women was reticent to discuss the rape, talking about the choking first would have been easier. It would have elicited immediate sympathy. She could then have worked up to telling more about the rape. What percentage of victims in case like this would have started by talking about the strangling first?

Who can say if being strangled is more horrific than being raped. Both crimes are evil. But, the near death experience of an attempted stranglation would certainly rank very high on the evil meter and not be easily forgotten. In the Duke case the alleged strangulation is a figment of a pain in a woman's neck, and the entire mess is a hoax built on lies.

Speaking of a pain in the neck. The only thing that has been strangled in this case is justice. Mike Nifong has throttled the rules of fairness and choked out the justice system. He is the real Durham Strangler.

Duke Lacrosse Case Search Warrant - March 16, 2006 [smokinggun.com]
Files From Duke Rape Case Give Details but No Answers [NY Times, Aug. 25, 2006]
Lacrosse files show gaps in DA's case [NewsObserver, Aug. 6, 2006]
Duke Lacrosse Scandal: Nifong Lies & Deception [TJN, June 17, 2006]
June 15 motion for David Evans by Cheshire and Bannon (.pdf)[NewsObserver.com]
Attachments to June 15 motion (.pdf) [newsobserver.com]

The TalkLeft forum is discussing this aspect of the case - here (thanks Newport)

They mention some things we neglected to include. For one thing, the strangulation was so horrific that the alleged victim tore off her artificial fingernails as she clawed at the assailant who was strangling her. A very unforgettable aspect of the strangulation portion of the assault. That is what Mike Nifong was reenacting for Dan Abrams back on April 7th when he became the Durham Strangler. Again, this level of detail seems to have originated from the March 16th interview with Gottlieb and Himan. That video is still available.
ABRAMS: Let me ask you, has there been an examination of any of the players, because the woman has said that she effectively tried to fight them off, that she broke off some of her nails in the process of grabbing someone's arm I guess it was. You would think that the person involved in that would have marks on his arm if that were the case.

NIFONG: That's a possibility, and certainly we did investigate that particular possibility. But let me point out that the evidence that she would present with respect to that particular situation is that she was grabbed from behind. So that in essence, somebody had an arm around her like this, which she then had to struggle with in order to be able to breathe, and it was in the course of that struggle that the fingernails—the artificial fingernails broke off.

Now as you can see from my arm, if I were wearing a shirt, a long-sleeved shirt or a Jacket of some sort, even if there were enough force used to press down, to break my skin through the clothing, there might not be any way that anything from my arm could get on to those fingernails. So again, whether or not there would be any evidence would depend on exactly the situation. Were the fingernails actually in contact with the skin or were they in contact with clothing?

This video will follow Mike Nifong to his grave.


'The Abrams Report,' - April 7, 2006 [MSNBC]