5-year-old rape investigation

By Mike Heine/The Week

(Published Nov. 29, 2006, 8:38 a.m.)

It's a case of he-said, she-said in a 5-year-old rape investigation that went to trial Tuesday.

A Palmyra woman, formerly of Whitewater, said she took prescription anti-depressants and Tylenol PM and was sleeping the night of June 21, 2001, when someone came into her apartment and raped her.

"I thought that I was having a dream," the woman said. "I remember thinking that I was dreaming."

Afterward, she found a wad of toilet paper on her bed with body fluid on it and a light on in the apartment she thought was off before going to bed.

According to the criminal complaint, the fluid's DNA matched Almany Feseru, a 39-year-old Milwaukee man who is facing charges of second-degree sexual assault and burglary.

Defense attorney Christopher L. Hartley said Feseru knew the woman and had consensual sexual contact with her in the days leading up to June 21, 2001
.
"The issue in the case is going to be did she and the defendant have any kind of sexual contact while she was sleeping and did they have any kind of sexual contact on the date in question," Hartley said "There may be some evidence that they had sexual contact at some point prior to that day, but it is our contention that there certainly was no sexual contact that evening and certainly no sexual contact while she was sleeping."

Hartley said there was no other physical evidence that pointed to Feseru being in the woman's apartment that day. He questioned why someone would break into an apartment to rape someone and then leave behind evidence in such a conspicuous manner.

"It's convenient for the alleged victim to find this toilet paper and then take it to the police department," Hartley said.

The woman testified Tuesday that she took more than the recommended doses of Seroquel and Topomax, medications to treat depression, and over-the-counter Tylenol PM to help her fall asleep. But she remembers having sensations that someone was assaulting her. She awoke experiencing some pain, she testified.

"I was out of it," she said. "I was struggling to gain consciousness. I was trying to wake up."

She told police that she thought her alleged assailant was Feseru because of his body size and his accent, which she said she heard that night.

Hartley said people who take Seroquel have been known to hallucinate and that could be a factor in this case.

The trial is expected to last through Thursday. Feseru faces up to 45 years in custody if convicted.

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