Drinking talk dominates rape trial
The trial of a Weatherford man charged with raping a Southwestern Oklahoma State University coed in March of 2017 entered its second day Thursday following gripping testimony Wednesday by the victim and her mother.
Stephen Homan is accused of entering the young woman’s residence following a night of partying in which she admitted she had passed out before being driven home by a designated driver.
“This case is about a drunken mistake by about everybody involved,” said defense attorney Ryan Recker of Weatherford in his opening statement. “Stephen Homan did not break into (the victim’s) house or rape her.”
The incident occurred during spring break of 2017 while the woman’s two female housemates were away.
Recker accused the victim of being “extremely intoxicated” that night, and some of her friends who testified seemed to agree. But the defense attorney said “the beer, vodka and rum started to kick in” to his client’s system too.
He said Homan remembers going home, not having his wallet, and going to the victim’s house. Recker said the accused also remembers having sex with her and waking up the next morning. However, he implied that it was consensual.
The victim told a somewhat different story. While admitting to drinking 10 shots of tequila at one location before going to another and having six or eight beers, she insisted she was alone when she got home and went to bed.
Some of her friends admitted smoking marijuana at one location. But asked on cross-examination by Recker if she had done that too, she answered, “No, I just laid on the floor.”
After getting home, she said she went to bed and went to sleep instantly, then woke up at some point to the sound of someone walking around and opening doors.
“He walked into my bedroom. I freaked out,” she said, also stating that she recognized the intruder as Homan with whom she had been friendly but not initimate at other times that night.
“I was laying in bed and he asked if he could sleep there (in her house),” she continued. “I said yes. I honestly didn’t care; I just wanted to go back to sleep.”
The alleged victim said she did fall back to sleep but woke up again. “I could feel him taking my clothes off me,” she said.
“Were you helping him?” asked Assistant District Attorney Dana Hada, the prosecutor in the case. No, was the reply.
Then, with tears in her eyes, the young woman said she could feel him.
“How did you feel?” asked Hada.
“I was scared,” the witness reply.
“Did you tell him he could touch your body in any way?” asked Hada. “No, I just laid there,” she replied.
She also said he had on no clothes himself.
The next day, she continued, she woke up, took a shower and went to work (at a Weatherford eating establishment).
But at work, she said she started freaking out when one of her co-workers asked her what she had done the night before. “It all hit me at once,” she said.
Then she said she called her mother who lived in another state and told her what had happened. She testified that her mother told her she was on her way to Weatherford, and arrived a few hours later.
After the mother arrived, the victim remembered her saying, “We are going to the police.”
Asked her reaction, she said, “I was terrified. I did not want to do it.”
The mother was the next witness. Asked if she had had any reservations about her daughter coming to Southwestern, she indicated she did not at the time because she had met young people from this area at a church camp she had attended.
Asked by Hada what the daughter’s demeanor was when she arrived, the mother said, “When I got there, she was out of it. She just wanted to get it over.” But the mom said she had a friend who was a highway patrolman and he counseled her, apparently advising her to go to the police.
The mother said she stayed that night and most of the next day with her daughter. Asked once again what the daughter’s attitude was, the mom answered, “She was pretty upset with me. It was my fault she had to go through this again and again.”
Asked if her daughter’s life has changed since the alleged rape, the mother said she was able to return to school but later dropped out, which gave her failing grades in all her subjects and made her ineligible for student loans. Now, said the mom, “She’s trying to pretend her life is normal.”
The trial continued Thursday with Weatherford Detective Matt Bartel, the principal investigator, the primary witness. He said when he interviewed Homan, he denied having sex with the woman that night.
But after being told that DNA results showed otherwise, his reaction was, “What the (expletive) did I do?”
Bartel said he told him he and the woman obviously had had sex. But further comments by Recker, the defense attorney, indicated he would try to convince the jury it was consensual or else they were both so drunk they didn’t know what they were doing.