Archive for Thursday, January 20, 2005

Suspect bound over for trial

January 20, 2005

A 25-year-old Kansas City, Kan., man faces arraignment this week on charges that he raped a clerk during an armed robbery last month at a Lansing gasoline station.

Leavenworth County District Judge Frederick N. Stewart bound the defendant over for trial Friday at the conclusion of a preliminary hear that was filled with emotional testimony from the victim and the suspect's girlfriend.

Two Lansing Police officers also testified at the hearing, which was conducted in the Justice Center in Leavenworth.

The incidents occurred shortly before 8 p.m. Dec. 21. The victim, a 31-year-old Lansing woman, recalled the events of that night in her testimony.

She said the suspect entered the store and paced in front of the counter before choosing a candy bar and indicating he wanted to buy it. When the clerk started the transaction, she said, the man lifted his sweatshirt, revealing a gun in his waistband, and demanded the money from the register and cash box. After he had taken the money, the clerk said, the man told her to stand in front of him, facing the back of the store. He then placed the gun in the clerk's ribs and forced her to walk to the back of the store. She expected him to lock her in the cooler, she said.

Instead, she said the man forced her into the storeroom and placed the gun against her head. He then made her disrobe, she said, and he proceeded to rape her.

The clerk said the man then demanded the videotape from the store's security cameras. She said she tried to explain that the system was wired to a computer and there was no videotape, and the man cocked his gun, she said, and threatened to kill her and her family. Then the doorbell rang, indicating someone had just entered the store, she said.

The victim said the man seemed startled and left quickly. She dressed herself and waited in the storeroom until a customer found her because she feared that the man was still in the store and would follow through on his threat, she said.

The victim testified she had never seen the man at her store before the night of the robbery. She identified the suspect in a lineup of six pictures that Lansing Police officers had brought to her house. She said she recognized the suspect by his eyes.

Sgt. Tony Waterman of Lansing Police was the first officer to arrive at the scene, and he later arrested the suspect. He testified the victim showed him how to use the security camera system. The tape showing the suspect was shown at the hearing. The suspect wore a black winter coat and hooded sweatshirt. Waterman said in his testimony that he recovered the jacket in the car when he arrested the suspect.

The car the suspect was driving when he was arrested was a beige 1992 Saturn. The car belongs to the suspect's girlfriend, Monica Laquaglia of Lansing. She also testified.

Laquaglia said she turned over the suspect's clothes to the police, which he was taking to her house to wash when he was arrested. Shown the surveillance video in court, she sobbed openly as she said she recognized her boyfriend by the coat and sweatshirt he was wearing. She said she had been dating the suspect for five years. She also said her residence was not searched and she was not questioned in connection with the robbery.

When she finished testifying, Laquaglia returned to her seat at the back of the courtroom. The suspect turned in his seat at the defense table to scowl at her several times.

The suspect's attorney asked the judge to revisit the issue of bond for the suspect, but the request was denied because the suspect was on parole when he was arrested.

Arraignment is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday at the Justice Center.

It is the policy of The Current not to report the names of victims of sexual crimes or suspects in such crimes unless they are convicted.

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