In 2011, a woman who is now 41 years old was allegedly raped near a playground at Jessie Loomis Elementary School by someone she claimed was following her. Now, a judge in the case is asking for additional DNA information after the woman could not identify 21-year-old Kevin D. Champion Jr., her alleged attacker.
According to a news article at Mlive.com, reports which were introduced at Champion’s March 24 preliminary hearing regarding crime lab test results from Michigan State Police were not specific enough. The DNA sample taken from Champion when the defendant was placed into the prison system matches a semen stain found on the victim’s hoodie, however Saginaw County District Judge Kyle Higgs Tarrant said that she was not comfortable with the lack of definitiveness.
Champion was charged with armed robbery, extortion, second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a weapon, kidnapping, and three counts of first-degree CSC involving a weapon after allegedly attacking the victim, who had purchased an item for her neighbor at the T & M Market and was walking back toward her home at approximately 9 p.m. The victim claimed her attacker dragged her near the school’s playground area after placing her in a headlock.
She testified in court that she could not see all of her attacker’s face because of the hoodie he wore, and that he was armed with a silver gun which he threatened to hurt her with if she wasn’t quiet. The woman alleged that her attacker took her money and cell phone after taking off her shoes. He then proceeded to remove her pants before raping her.
Saginaw Police Officer Jonathon Beyerlein responded after one of the victim’s friends called 911. At trial, he testified that the victim could not identify Champion; two years later, she still could not identify him in a photo lineup after authorities had determined that the first DNA sample taken from Champion matched the evidence found on the woman’s hoodie. Champion is 5′ 8″ tall and weighs 145 pounds, however the woman described her attacker as about 5′ 6″ tall and weighing about 140 pounds. While she described him as tall, she explained during her testimony that because she is under 5 feet tall, someone who is 5′ 6″ is tall in comparison. The woman also described her attacker as “light skinned,” a description the defendant’s attorney said was a matter of opinion.
The remainder of Champion’s preliminary hearing has been postponed until the results of the second DNA swab are obtained, which Saginaw County Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Barnes said could take three to six months.
Michigan sex crime defense attorneys know it is not uncommon for a victim to be unable to positively identify an attacker. While DNA is compelling evidence, it often takes further proof to convince a jury of a defendant’s guilt. Regardless, if Champion is ultimately found guilty of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, he could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
If you have been accused of rape or any sex offense, take action immediately to protect your legal rights and freedom. Contact a skilled and aggressive Michigan sex crime lawyer at once.