Assistant District Attorney Melissa Handke represented the State of Oklahoma Wednesday in a first degree rape trial that centered on the issue of consent in the event of intoxication.
Handke gave a detailed account to jurors in District Judge Thomas Baldwin’s courtroom from the night that Dwight Burley, Jr., 22, of Ardmore, allegedly sexually assaulted an Ardmore woman in her home while she was unconscious.
Handke said Burley drove the alleged victim, along with his girlfriend and another woman, to the alleged victim’s home after a “girls night out” of drinking at several locations, including a local bar. A few hours later, Handke alleged Burley returned to the alleged victim’s home alone using her car and her keys to enter her home before allegedly sexually assaulting her.  Burley’s girlfriend originally reported to APD Det. Landon Gary that the alleged victim was heavily intoxicated, so much so that she was unable to find her car keys, which she had on her person at the time and that she had to be “carried from the bar” and “into the house.” Burley’s girlfriend also said that the alleged victim had vomited on her shirt, which the girlfriend removed before putting her into bed, bringing her bread and milk and placing a trash can near the bed, Gary testified.
The girlfriend told a different story on the witness stand Wednesday, claiming that the “alleged victim wasn’t that drunk,” before corroborating other details.
When the alleged victim took the stand, she reported remembering very little from the night after leaving the bar. She testified she did recall waking up in her bed with a “black man in her bedroom” instructing her “don’t tell anybody.”
The alleged victim said she began to suspect that something had occurred when she woke up and tried to piece together what had happened the previous night. She said she sought medical treatment one day after the alleged attack and filed a police report two days after the attack.
The alleged victim remained in the courtroom as Burley’s girlfriend took the stand.
The girlfriend told jurors that the alleged victim was able to walk and talk when they were leaving the bar, comments Gary would later dispute. She did corroborate that she helped the alleged victim into bed and out of her vomit-covered shirt.
She also claimed to have placed the victim’ keys under her pillow before going to sleep at her own residence, but that she “felt that something had happened” since Burley was sleeping in the living room when she woke up the next day.
On cross examination, the girlfriend reported that the alleged victim had repeatedly “jokingly” told her “don’t let me cheat.”
The girlfriend told jurors that the alleged victim first contacted her at about 7 a.m. the morning following the assault, and that she and Burley returned her car at about 9 a.m., contradicting the alleged victim’s testimony of the events happening closer to 11 a.m.
Handke accused the girlfriend of giving testimony that was different from what she originally told investigators before releasing the witness.
Gary took the witness stand to reaffirm Handke’s assertion that the girlfriend had changed her story.
Jurors were then shown a video interview from the initial investigation where Burley told Gary that he had returned to the alleged victim’s home early that morning, confirming that he had intercourse with the alleged victim, but contended that the interaction was consensual, that she had asked him to return and that she actively participated. Burley did not appear on the witness stand.
Gary then informed jurors that following the APD interview with Burley he gave the alleged victim confirmation that intercourse did occur. Following this testimony from Gary, a video was played from an APD interview showing the alleged victim weeping and saying that she felt sick after being informed that Burley had confirmed that intercourse had happened.
Upon cross examination, Gary told jurors that the alleged victim asked him to report the information to her partner surmising, “it might be more believable coming from me.”
The trial is expected to continue today.