In his closing statement in the trial of Kennedy Fleming, charged with aggravated rape, Prosecutor Lance Pope said, "He's lying because he's guilty." The jury began deliberating Thursday afternoon.
Fleming is accused of raping a woman who was renting a room in his girlfriend's apartment. According to the woman, Fleming put a sharpened stick at her throat and told her if she wanted to leave she would leave in a body bag.
The woman was receiving treatment for opioid addiction at a local methadone clinic and staying at St. Catherine's Shelter until she worked out a deal with Fleming's girlfriend about a room situation.
Fleming claimed he had no physical contact with the woman on the night she said he raped her, but swabs taken during a rape exam tested positive for his DNA.
Fleming's former girlfriend also testified. She said on that night, she woke up to the victim screaming, "Stop! Don't do it!" Fleming said both women were lying.
Defense Attorney Jay Underwood said in his closing statement, "It's only unlawful if she didn't consent." Fleming also claimed that even though he did not touch the woman on that particular night, they had consensual sex in the past. The woman said this was not true.
Attorney Underwood also pointed out that after a search by crime scene investigators, a weapon like the woman described was never found. He said, "It wasn't found there because it wasn't there."
He also said it was odd that after leaving the apartment, instead of going immediately to a rape crisis center, the woman first went to the methadone clinic and to get food. He said the woman had her cell phone with her the entire night and questioned why she did not call anyone.
Prosecutor Pope disagreed. He told the jury, "Think about the arrogance of that position for the defendant to take, 'I raped you and you didn't act right.'"
He said the woman left as soon as she felt safe, a few hours after the incident occurred.
He asked the jury what she would gain from lying, saying, "For what benefit? To get to come here and participate in this trial?"
He also asked, if the defendant's claims were true, "Why would she go to the hospital?"
He ended, saying "Don't be fooled. Don't be manipulated."