SHARON Cousin testifies at hearing for suspect accused in rape
The witness said he didn't know the woman was unconscious when he raped her.
By VIRGINIA ROSS
SHARON, Pa. -- An area man who admitted raping a woman in her Sharon apartment last year said his cousin, Henry Lee Jones, asked him to sign a statement releasing Jones from any involvement in the attack.
Randy Norris, 19, an inmate at Mercer County Jail, was the lone witness at a preliminary hearing for Jones on Thursday before District Justice James McMahon. McMahon ordered Jones, who lives in Benton Harbor, Mich., to stand trial in Mercer County.
He is charged with criminal conspiracy, burglary, aggravated assault and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. He was extradited from Michigan to Mercer County last month.
Signed statement: Norris, who testified he can't read or write but can write his own name, said he signed the statement, but didn't know what it said.
Norris was originally charged with several offenses associated with raping an unconscious victim, including indecent assault and aggravated indecent assault. He was also charged with burglary, conspiracy and criminal trespass. He pleaded guilty to rape in September. At that time the remaining charges were dismissed.
Prison sentence: Earlier this year he was sentenced to three years to 20 years in state prison.
At the hearing, he testified Jones was in town because Jones' father had died. He said that early the morning of July 12, Jones asked him if he knew any women and Norris said he told him yes.
Norris said he took Jones to the victim's apartment, but, because he was listening to the radio, waited in the car as Jones went into the residence through the kitchen door.
He said 10 to 20 minutes later Jones returned to the car and told Norris to go into the apartment. He said the woman was lying on the couch naked. He said Jones told him to have sex with her and he did. He said Jones told him to stop when the two men heard the woman's baby crying.
"Henry said 'let's go,' so I got myself together and went to the car," Norris said.
He said Jones stayed in the apartment for a short period of time. He said that when Jones came to the car, he told Norris not to say anything about what had happened.
Norris said he had been drinking and smoking marijuana throughout the day and that on the previous day he and several people had attended a party at the victim's home.
Choked and raped: Police, who charged Jones in April, said he and Norris broke into the 21-year-old woman's apartment while she was sleeping. Police said the woman, who had to be hospitalized, was choked until she was unconscious, raped and assaulted with a mop handle.
Police said Norris told them he didn't know the woman was unconscious when he raped her.