Friday, 31 March 2006

Duke under siege, day five: pondering the timeline

(I initially drafted this as a comment to a post at Brendan Nyhan’s blog, but it’s gotten pretty unwieldy so I’ll just post it here. Note that it is somewhat speculative, but I think it fits the established facts. “Woman 1” is the alleged victim of the rape, “Woman 2” is the other exotic dancer.)

My plausible timeline works something like this:

  • Party happens, although it’s not exactly established when. The neighbors could put a rough time on the “cotton shirt” comment, at the very least. This should be in the witness statement to police.
  • Women leave, lax players skedaddle afterwards. This has to take some time.
  • Woman 2 decides to make first 911 call from somewhere in Durham to get lax players in trouble with police, not knowing lax players are on Franklin Street (or who knows where) by now. Maybe Woman 1 has told Woman 2 she left stuff in 610 house, and figures if cops are competent they’ll look around and find it. (Knowing the exact address—even if the numbers were actually removed between the incident and today—does seem a bit odd for a mere passerby; I doubt you could read the address at night in the dark from the street even if the numbers were still there, as Buchanan is not a very well-lit street.)
  • Police show up immediately, are mystified that nobody is there, find evidence of a party earlier, interview neighbors, then leave.
  • Women venture out to Hillsborough Rd Kroger, in West Durham near 15-501, the opposite direction in town from where most African-Americans live, to do something (I can’t imagine they were there for groceries). Woman 2 goes inside Kroger, leaving Woman 1 in car parked in fire lane. Kroger security guy finds Woman 1 in car, calls 911. Woman 2 comes back to car, finds Kroger guard on phone, has to tell what happened.

This timeline doesn’t preclude the possibility of an assault, but it does put it quite a bit earlier than the first 911 call. Or it puts it somewhere other than the 610 house (Edens Quad?).

Unsolved mysteries: why leave everything in 610 house for 2 days—clearly one player was there when the warrant was served (he’s listed as the person receiving the inventory)? What did the police find in the room in Edens Quad and the Edens student’s car? (Related: What lax team members live in the specified room in Edens, if any?)

The victim claims she scratched one of the alleged rapists on the arm, so which (if any) of the 46 lax players had abraisons on their arms? I can’t believe the cops didn’t check this when they were all called in for the DNA testing—which, given the latest out of Nifong and DPD, may have just been a ruse to get everyone in so they could look for the scratches.

Why are two women who allegedly don’t know each other driving around Durham together for at least 20 minutes? Kroger on Hillsborough is 5–10 minutes from Buchanan and Markham at 1 am, and a straight shot west on Markham until it turns into Hillsborough. If you were looking for a drug store or grocery store, there are closer ones (Food Lion on Hillsborough near Erwin Mill Tower, Rite Aid and Walgreens further west nearer Kroger).

This whole thing is damned peculiar. Not that everything needs to add up for the rape allegations to be true, but if there’s no DNA and the women aren’t credible on the timeline, Righteous Townie DA Mike Nifong’s going to have some real trouble prosecuting this thing, particularly once Nifong narrows down the suspects and they get good high-priced lawyers who can start poking holes in this investigation and his jury pool tampering and borderline unethical conduct—for example, I’m pretty sure it’s against the rules for a prosecutor to assert that people who have been targeted by an investigation and hired lawyers must have something to hide.

Elsewhere, Timothy Burke ponders the “cotton shirt” comment, while Doug Wright thinks other important issues may be lost in the shuffle if the rape allegations turn out to be false (or at least unproveable). Out in the dead tree media universe, the Chronicle reports on the media circus; there’s also a good op-ed by Boston Cote in today’s paper. Last, but not least, UD offers the following suggestion:

The school needs to shut down most of its other operations for awhile and reopen as a rehab unit.


Any views expressed in these comments are solely those of their authors; they do not reflect the views of the authors of Signifying Nothing, unless attributed to one of us.
[Permalink] 1. Merlisa wrote @ Fri, 31 Mar 2006, 10:25 pm CST:

I suspect the second woman did make the call. I’m also suspect the accuser was worried about people finding out about what she did for a living, afterall she was a student at another university.

I don’t see any problem with the timeline though. Police were called and found nothing because the party was over. The woman may have left their an hour before that.

If “nothing sexual” happened, which is the claim by the players, then why the KY Jelly? They are not even claiming that it was consensual.

And why ask for black dancers (yes, they specificially asked for black women) and then yell racial slurs. This would make this a hate crime.

And if you are going to falsely accuse someone of rape, why do it with 40 of their friends in the house? Why leave your cash, cell phone and makeup behind, unless you are in a hurry to get the hell out of there?

Also, as any woman will tell you, fake fingernails are much harder to loose than real ones. If she lost fake nails during this, somebody has some serious scratches on their body.

How hard must someone be fighting to loose fake nails?

The anal stuff? That’s a hard one to fake. Something happened. I don’t know if it was rape, but I find it hard to believe the guy’s account that they lied (said they were a party of five having a bachelor party and used fake names) about hiring exotic dancers, asked for two black women, had KY Jelly and “nothing sexual” happened.

Somewhere between the two stories is the truth.


Good questions, all. I think the K-Y is pretty easy to explain away, unless they can somehow tie the contents of that bottle to the woman in question. The rest… well, it’s up to the defense to answer.

Then again, at the rate things are going down the tubes around here there won’t be anyone alive to prosecute.

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