Former Hagerstown man's second rape trial begins

Prosecutors try to link Md., Pa. assaults with victimsâEUR(TM) testimony

Prosecutors try to link Md., Pa. assaults with victimsâEUR(TM) testimony

October 15, 2007|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. ? Prosecutors spent the first day of Pov Srun's trial in Franklin County Court trying to link two rapes committed in Pennsylvania with two similar crimes for which the former Hagerstown man was convicted in Maryland.

The jury of eight men and four women heard testimony from 15 witnesses Monday, including the two Pennsylvania victims and two victims from Maryland. Each woman testified to being attacked as they got into their vehicles by a man who in three cases obscured his face with pieces of duct tape.

Srun, 36, is charged by Waynesboro, Pa., and Chambersburg police with felony kidnapping, rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, robbery of a vehicle and other offenses in the Sept. 16, 2004, incident involving a 16-year-old Smithsburg girl kidnapped from the Kmart parking lot in Waynesboro and an assault 12 days later on a 20-year-old woman that began in the Weis Market parking lot in Chambersburg.


Srun entered a plea agreement in Montgomery County, Md., and is serving a sentence of up to 35 years in that state.

"A man with duct tape on his face ... he opened the door and was trying to shove his way in," the Smithsburg woman testified. The man drove her Jeep Cherokee to a few unknown locations and sexually assaulted her, she testified.

The woman testified that the man took photographs of her before returning the Jeep to a place near the Kmart parking lot.

"When he opened the door to leave, he apologized and told me not to tell anybody," the woman testified. The man left her $200, she testified.

The Sept. 16 incident took place at night as the woman was leaving work, Assistant District Attorney David Rahauser said in his opening statement. The Sept. 28 incident took place in the afternoon, but in a driving rain, Rahauser said.

The victim in that case testified that a man wearing a ski mask forced his way into her car. Police later testified they also found a piece of duct tape in the vehicle.

"He said if I don't keep quiet, he was going to harm me with a knife," the woman testified. The man drove her to an unknown location and sexually assaulted her, took photographs, returned her to Weis Market and left $300 in the vehicle, she testified.

A Maryland woman testified that on Jan. 25, 2005, a man with duct tape on his face forced his way into her vehicle at a private school in Rockville, Md. The man drove her vehicle away, then drove back to the school, forcing her into a van and assaulting her, she testified.

"He gave me $200 and stuck it in my back pocket," the woman, who was 18 at the time, testified. "He apologized. He said, 'I'm sorry. I'm sorry,'" she testified.

The fourth woman, who was 16 at the time of the assault on Feb. 21, 2005, testified on video tape about a similar assault, including the duct tape on the man's face. The man's behavior was more violent and the assault ended abruptly when another vehicle parked next to hers at a Bethesda, Md., shopping center, she testified.

"I was trying to write 'help' with my knuckles on the (fogged) window" of her vehicle during the attack, she testified.

The assailant ran off and an older man came to her assistance, she testified. Srun, whom she identified during her testimony, ran behind a fence and told her and the man that he had a gun, she testified.

She ran into a store, but the man who helped her was able to get the license number of the silver Honda Odyssey that Srun was driving, she testified.

Srun was arrested and Sgt. Dan Clements of the Montgomery County Police Department testified that a digital camera, rolls of duct tape, $112 and an envelope with the name and address of the third victim was found in Srun's van. Under cross-examination by defense attorney Gary Knaresboro, Clements testified that no photos of the assaults were found on the camera.

The Pennsylvania victims testified on cross-examination by Knaresboro that they could not identify Srun as their attacker, but several prosecution witnesses testified to the collection of evidence that yielded DNA. Washington County Sheriff's Deputy David Izat testified to finding a baseball cap in the first victim's Jeep, and Chambersburg Hospital emergency room personnel testified to collecting rape kit specimens from the second victim.

When Srun was charged, the affidavits of probable cause stated that DNA found on the baseball cap sweatband and from the rape kit swabs matched DNA from one of the Maryland cases. That eventually yielded a match with Srun's DNA after his arrest in Maryland, according to police.

On cross-examination, Knaresboro asked about the chain of evidence, questioning law enforcement witnesses about the way forensic evidence was collected, transported and stored, raising the issue of possible contamination of samples.

The trial is scheduled to run through Wednesday.

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