KEALAKEKUA — The victim of a violent rape took the stand Wednesday in 3rd Circuit Court to testify about the reported acts committed against her will at Old Kona Airport Park more than two years ago.
The woman’s testimony was one of many heard on the first day of jury trial against 19-year-old Samuel Latrik. The teen is one of two suspects accused in the assault.
Tyron Sigrah, 18, was charged in November 2017 and pleaded guilty in October to charges of first-degree sexual assault, second-degree assault, kidnapping and robbery. He was sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
Latrik was indicted in January on charges of three counts of first-degree sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault, kidnapping, second-degree robbery, first-degree terroristic threatening and third-degree sexual assault.
On Wednesday, the victim laid out for the jury the events that occurred on Sept. 3, 2016, at Old Kona Airport Park. She had been shopping at Island Naturals when she decided to head to Target. Seeing that it was getting dark, she told the court she changed her mind and began walking toward town.
When she got to Kuakini Highway, the woman testified, she stopped to have a cigarette just north of Kona Community Aquatics Center. While sitting on the grassy mound, she explained, two men approached her, one was muscular and the other was skinnier.
“I didn’t know them, but they seemed friendly,” she said.
During the course of their investigation, Hawaii Police identified Sigrah as the skinnier suspect and Latrik as the muscular suspect.
The victim, who was 29 at the time, testified that one of the boys asked her: “Do you burn?” She took that to mean to smoke marijuana.
“To me, that phrase is a welcoming gesture,” she said.
While she indicated that she did smoke but didn’t have any on her, the boys invited her to hang out. The three then hopped a 5-foot fence onto the soccer field, north of the pool.
When they got on the field, they sat down.
“They immediately stole my cigarettes,” the victim testified.
She recalled she pointed out that they took them from her, but she would forgive them.
At one point, the woman told the jury, the skinnier boy indicated he wanted to ask her a question in private.
“The skinny one asked if I would stay with him on the beach,” the woman stated.
When she said no, the victim recalled him asking her if she believed it was because he wasn’t good enough.
The victim testified that she told the skinnier boy it was because she doesn’t do that and that she needs to know a person.
After that, the woman testified, the skinnier boy started rubbing her arms. Despite her requests to stop, the victim told the court, he would stop but would start rubbing her arms again.
At that point, the woman went back to where the muscular boy was sitting to collect her stuff and put out her cigarette. She testified they were on either side of her rubbing her arms, despite her requests for them to stop.
Shortly after, she decided to leave. As she walked toward an opening in the chain-link fence along Kuakini Highway, she testified she heard them coming “quickly behind me.”
“The muscular one got between me and the road and the skinnier one football tackled me to the ground,” the woman stated.
“The muscular one was holding me down on my right side,” the woman recalled. “I said stop it.”
The woman testified that she was screaming. She recalled the muscular boy hitting her first and saying: “shut the f— up.”
“I don’t remember when I started getting hit; I was punched a lot,” the victim stated.
At the same time, the woman testified the skinnier boy was down by her legs pulling off her pants and swimsuit bottoms. At that point, she stated, the sexual assault occurred.
The victim told the court the muscular boy hit her more than the skinnier boy, however, they both took turns sexually assaulting her.
At one point, the woman stated, the muscular one took a towel she had in her possession and used it to cover her face.
“They shoved that towel over my face and were suffocating me,” she said. “I felt scared because he was cutting off all my air supply.”
The victim eventually saw another person on the other side of the fence and yelled for help.
“I think I only got H-E-L out before they shoved the towel over my entire face,” the woman recalled. “I just kept screaming.”
The victim testified the stranger yelled, “Get off of her!” and threatened to call police. After that, the boys left.
During cross examination, Defense Counsel James Biven asked the victim to explain more exactly how close she was to the shorter 5-foot fence that she hopped with the two suspects.
“No one forced you to hop the short fence, did they?” Biven asked.
The victim said everything happened so fast and the boys seemed welcoming and friendly.
“I tried to be open and make new friends,” she added.
Several images of the woman’s injuries were shown to the jury.
Injuries included swelling to the left cheek, forehead and bridge to the nose, as well as abrasions.
In one particular photo shown to the jury it showed a patterned bruise on her right arm, which Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Kim Page testified was consistent with being grabbed.