Victim testifies in ex-firefighter's trial
Man accused of beating, trying to rape woman last year
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The victim in the case of a former Jacksonville firefighter charged with attempted sexual battery, kidnapping and attempted murder was the first to testify as the trial began Wednesday.
Daniel Evans, 31, formerly a three-year member of the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department, has pleaded not guilty to charges resulting from what police first thought was a random attack on a woman leaving a downtown bar in June 2012.
Prosecutors said the victim had just left Dos Gatos on East Forsyth Street and was walking to a parking garage when Evans struck her in the head, dragged her into an alley, beat and tried to rape her.
"Strong-arms gripped around her neck from behind, a python-like grip," prosecutor Alan Mizrahi said in describing the attack. "She was dragged from the street of Adams Street, the sidewalk, back behind an alley to an abandoned loading dock at the now- and then-condemned old library."
The woman was emotional on the stand at times while recalling the events. She talked about how scared she was.
"I told myself this is, this is how I'm going to die," the 24-year-old said. "I kept my eyes closed because I knew that if I did survive I didn't want to have any visual attachments to it."
She said she didn't stop screaming until she was knocked unconscious.
A man and his girlfriend heard the screams, and that man called 911 and chased the person he positively identified as Evans.
Evans was arrested after the witness identified him as the suspect seen running from the alley, prosecutors said. They said he appeared to be heavily intoxicated.
The defense tried to refute what the witnesses said they saw.
"They are standing on the third floor of the parking garage looking down from above, looking at the back of two people," defense attorney Warfa Hanniah said.
Defense lawyers also suggest the victim may not recall the incident clearly after the alcohol she consumed before and at the bar.
"In going to Dos Gatos, you had liquor drinks at Dos Gatos?" defense attorney Jason Gropper asked her.
"Yes," the victim said.
"You had liquor drinks there?" Gropper asked.
"Yes," the victim said.
"Ok. And it was a continuation from the party from previously with the same people and everything else?" Gropper asked.
"Mhmm," the victim said.
Investigators said they found Evans' blood on the fence he hopped in his boxers and T-shirt.
"One in 2.5 sextillion chance that some human being other than Daniel Archy Evans contributed that blood," Mizrahi said.
The trial is expected to wrap up Thursday.
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