VISTA, Calif. — As she scrolled through her Snapchat feed on her phone last June, Jane Doe No. 4 stumbled across some news that left her trembling.
It was a San Diego Union-Tribune story about the arraignment of Kellen Winslow II on multiple rape charges.
For Doe, seeing that article brought back a flood of ghastly memories. It was Winslow who she alleges raped her after a 2003 house party in the San Diego suburbs when she was 17 and he was 19.
At the time of that incident, Doe attests she lacked the courage to tell police what happened to her. She was a high school senior drinking under age and Winslow was a heralded football prospect and the son of one of the most revered players in San Diego Chargers history.
“I didn’t think anyone would believe what I had to say,” Doe testified Wednesday. “Why would anyone believe some girl that got drunk when his father is this well-known man who is in the Hall of Fame?”
Now a 33-year-old wife of a U.S. Marine and mother of two, Doe insists she felt much differently when she learned of the other allegations against Winslow. Within days, she contacted the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department because she believed it was her duty to set a good example for her daughters and to keep Winslow off the street.
“It was my kids,” she said. “I look at two innocent girls and I never would want them to feel like they didn’t have a voice. I want them to know that it’s OK to say no, that it’s OK to speak up and to tell their truths.”
Doe’s change of heart put her on a path to tell a jury what happened to her on Wednesday during day 6 of the Winslow trial. The former NFL tight end faces life in prison if convicted of all 12 charges against him including the rape of three women — Jane Doe No. 4 in 2003 and a 55-year-old hitchhiker and a 59-year-old homeless woman in separate incidents last year.
Whereas Winslow’s high-priced defense attorneys were able to poke holes in the story his first accuser told, they were less successful in their attempts to chip away at Jane Doe No. 4’s credibility. Eyes red, cheeks tear-stained yet voice resolute, she described waking up from a drunken fog to find Winslow penetrating her from behind while pushing her face into another man’s penis.
“She appears to be a fairly strong witness for the prosecution,” said Philip Holloway, a legal analyst and criminal attorney with the Georgia-based Holloway Law Group. “She also told people consistently over the years what happened to her including her close friend right after it is alleged to have occurred. That adds to her credibility and takes away from the defense that her claims are a recent fabrication.”
2 house parties, 2 encounters with Winslow
Jane Doe No. 4 testified Wednesday that she met her alleged rapist in June 2003 at a house party in the affluent Scripps Ranch area of San Diego. They chatted and flirted for awhile, the conversation going smoothly enough that she agreed to follow him and his friends to a second house party and then join him in an upstairs bedroom alone.
As Doe and Winslow were “kissing and touching and starting to have sex,” they were allegedly interrupted by the sound of the bedroom door opening. A friend of Winslow’s identified only as “Matt” entered the room and closed the door behind him.
“He’s going to watch,” Doe recalled Winslow telling her.
“I’m not OK with that,” Doe responded.
After Matt left the room, Doe put her clothes back on, walked downstairs and asked a close friend to drive her home. Winslow made no effort to try to stop her aside from allegedly pleading, “Aren’t you going to let me finish?”
The next time Doe recalls having contact with Winslow, she says she ran into him and his friends as she and her friend were leaving another house party two weeks later. They drove in two cars to a nearby gas station, where Doe got into Winslow’s black SUV with him and Matt with the expectation that they would go to another house party.
Having poured herself “two or three” beers from the keg at the previous house party, Doe said she felt “buzzed” during the drive. She testified that she seldom drank more than three beers in one night at the time because at 5-foot-2, 92 pounds, she tended to feel the effects of alcohol rapidly.
When they pulled up at a nearby townhouse, Doe doesn’t recall seeing anyone else there. She testified that she recalls splashing some water on her face in the bathroom and “trying to sober up” before taking a seat on a living room couch.
At that point, Doe believes she must have blacked out because she has no memory of a chunk of time thereafter. The next thing she remembers, she was on all fours on a bed with Winslow penetrating her from behind and pushing her face into Matt’s exposed groin.
“What did you do when you regained consciousness?” District Attorney Dan Owens asked Doe on Wednesday.
Responded Doe with tears in her eyes, “I told him to stop. Just stop. Just stop.”
Instead of listening to her pleas, Doe alleges Winslow flipped her over and continued to have sex with her while another person in the room filmed the encounter. Only when Matt intervened on her behalf did Winslow relent.
Winslow’s defense pounces on Jane Doe No. 4’s recollection
Determined to give the jury reason to believe the sex was consensual not rape, defense attorney Marc Carlos focused part of his cross examination on establishing the inconsistencies between Doe’s testimony on Wednesday and what she initially told police last year. Doe also acknowledged to Carlos that she did not consume any food or drinks in front of Winslow, which would seem to rule out the possibility of him drugging her.
When Carlos asked Doe to explain how she went from buzzed to blackout drunk after only two or three beers, Doe acknowledged she too was confused by that. She said she had not blacked out previously even when she consumed three or more drinks.
Because she has no memory of the period between when she was on the living room couch and the bed in the bedroom, Carlos noted that she can’t be sure of her own behavior.
“Is it fair to say that because you were in a blackout state, you really don’t know what actions you might have taken to initiate things?” Carlos asked.
“Correct,” Doe responded.
At one point, Doe snapped at Carlos when he brought up a previous statement she made that things had “escalated” that night. Asked why she used that word to describe the incident, Doe answered with a raised voice and said, “Because it escalated to a point where somebody is penetrating me with his (expletive) penis. When somebody tells you to stop, you stop, OK?”
Witnesses back Jane Doe No. 4’s claim
On the night of her alleged rape, Doe testified that Matt drove her to an unknown location where her friend was waiting to pick her up. Doe said she cried throughout the drive back to her friend’s house, where she slept over that night.
“She asked me what happened,” Doe said, “and all I could say was I told him to stop.”
Two other prosecution witnesses largely corroborated Doe’s story on Wednesday.
An ex-boyfriend testified that Doe experienced frequent nightmares and would wake up “screaming and crying” when they dated in 2004 and 2005. When he asked Doe what was wrong, she told him that she was having flashbacks to a sexual assault by a man named Kellen when she was a senior in high school.
Doe’s husband also testified that she told him about the alleged rape during a 2012 conversation.
“She said she kept telling him to stop,” he said. “She kept telling him no.”
Doe’s friend is expected to testify Thursday before the prosecution rests its case. The defense will present witnesses thereafter, including possibly Matt if Winslow’s attorneys opt to call him to the stand.
Jane Doe No. 4 kept photo of Winslow
The graphic testimony from Doe provided the most compelling moments from a jam-packed day at the Winslow trial.
On Wednesday morning, the prosecution tried mostly unsuccessfully to bolster the credibility of Jane Doe No. 1 by calling her daughter to the stand. The daughter testified that Doe had told her she had been “attacked” a couple days after the alleged rape, but also described her mother as “paranoid” and admitted she blatantly lied on the stand about her history of alcohol abuse.
In the afternoon, Jane Doe No. 5 testified that while out on bail, Winslow stroked his penis in front of her at a Carlsbad gym in February and asked her if she liked it. Weeks later, Winslow allegedly approached the 78-year-old Doe in a jacuzzi at the gym wearing nothing but a skimpy towel, sat down next to her and masturbated beside her.
Explosive as those allegations are, they didn’t resonate as strongly as Doe No. 4’s emotional testimony.
In the middle of Doe’s testimony on Wednesday, the prosecution displayed a photo of her and Winslow at the gas station the night of her alleged rape. In the photo, a young-looking Winslow sits in the driver’s seat of a black SUV with one arm around Doe and a bag of Doritos on his lap.
Doe explained there’s a reason she has kept that photo all these years.
Said Doe, “It’s a reminder that anything is possible, that anybody can harm you.”
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