Woman testifies that man raped her at music festival
11:35 PM, Dec. 7, 2011 |
Written by Joy Juedes, City News Service
INDIO — A woman testified Wednesday that a parking lot attendant at the Stagecoach country music festival helped her find a friend's car, then forced himself on her, pinned her to the ground and raped her last spring.
“I was still hoping to make him go away and I didn't know what I was going to do,” she said. “He pushed me down on my back on the ground; I'm pushing and telling him to stop and he just keeps telling me it's fine.”
She said she began to cry, begged him to stop and began to call for help.
“I could hear the music from the concert and just hoped someone would be coming soon,” the 23-year-old Los Angeles woman said.
She said she heard someone coming, and her attacker got up and walked away.
“I remember a woman rush up and ask if I was hurt; I was sobbing,” she said. “(I told) her that he raped me, that was all I could say.”
Darin Ledale Garrett, 46, is accused of rape, forced oral copulation, sexual penetration with a foreign object and sexual battery, stemming from the alleged April 30 attack.
If convicted, he could be sentenced to more than 20 years in prison.
The alleged rape occurred about 9:50 p.m. on the opening night of Stagecoach, which is held annually at Indio's Empire Polo Grounds.
Deputy District Attorney Brijida Rodarte told jurors in her opening statement that nurses later found bruises on the alleged victim's body, and DNA matching Garrett's was collected during the rape exam.
The woman later picked Garrett out of a photo lineup, the prosecutor said.
“You'll hear testimony that Darin Ledale Garrett was the man who raped (the woman),” Rodarte said. “There's more than enough evidence to satisfy the requirements (to convict him).”
Garrett's attorney, Joshua Mulligan, asked jurors to keep an open mind and consider all the evidence.
“There's a lot more here than the prosecution has let on,” he said in his opening statement. “Listen to everything very carefully and find him not guilty.”
Garrett was arrested a day after the alleged attack at an Indio motel.
He told police he had helped the woman by lending her his cell phone but denied having physical contact with her, according to court papers.
The woman testified that she became separated from her companions at the music festival and Garrett helped her find a friend's car.
She said she had had seven or eight drinks and was “feeling the buzz” that night.
She alleged that after she thanked Garrett, he exposed himself and did not leave when she told him she wasn't interested.
She testified that he then attacked her.
Garrett is being held at the Riverside County Jail in Indio in lieu of $100,000 bail.