From the little bit she could see from under her blindfold, the victim in a brutal 2010 rape and attempted-murder case that began in Palo Alto said she saw blood cascade from every part of her body on the night she was allegedly attacked by Lionel Blanks Jr. of Santa Clara.
"Ju Doe," as she was called in court, appeared at Blanks' preliminary hearing Wednesday morning (May 11) in Santa Clara County Superior Court in San Jose.
She testified she only survived the attack because she was able to fake her death while being strangled in a school field early on the morning of May 22, 2010.
"I felt like I probably have four breaths in me, and I'm gone. I inhaled really slowly and exhaled slowly to play dead," said Doe, a 20-something Asian woman with long, dark hair.
Doe said she was not familiar with Palo Alto when she joined two girlfriends for drinks at a bar on May 21. Earlier that afternoon, she had been in Saratoga and had drunk two glasses of wine at a food tasting for her best friend's upcoming wedding.
In Palo Alto nearly four hours later, she had two drinks and a shot of Jack Daniels with her friends.
At about 1 a.m., she drove her friends to their car and proceeded to drive home, but she became lost and took a circuitous route through side streets, she testified.
A Palo Alto police officer stopped her on suspicion of drunk driving when he observed her car moving erratically. Doe said she was attempting to download an application on her GPS device, she said.
The officer let her go without charging her after she passed a drunk-driving field test, she said.
After her navigation device reset, Doe followed its directions, but that led her to road construction on the Stanford campus, and she ended up "going in circles" until she reached El Camino Real.
Feeling tired, she parked her SUV near a field under a street lamp and climbed into the passenger seat to nap, Doe said. She didn't know how long she had been asleep, but she did not think it had been very long before she awoke to a cold breeze and felt sharp things on the seat as she shifted.
Someone began shouting, she said. "Before I had time to reply, I was in a choke hold."
Doe testified she was yanked from the car and thrown to the ground.
"I could see my feet. My head started taking blows to the concrete. I realized, 'Oh my gosh -- I'm not dreaming anymore,'" she said.
"I realized I felt blood dripping down from my head down my cheek and into my mouth. Someone was still shouting. The voice said, 'You better not scream. Keep quiet. Do what you're told.' The blows were so hard, my ears would only get bits and pieces," she said.
Slipping in and out of consciousness, Doe said she was blindfolded and her wrists were bound together. She was thrown into the back floor of her car, and the man drove to the freeway.
At first, the man's questions seemed almost friendly.
"He commented he has two daughters," she recalled him as saying. Hoping to gain sympathy, she lied and said she had a daughter, too, she said.
"Have to get home to my daughter," she said.
But the questions and demands for immediate responses grew increasingly harsh. At times, he threatened to kill her, she said.
Throughout the night, whenever she was slow to respond to his questions, the man would reach back and grope her, she said.
"Why are you wearing a thong? Are you a freak?" the man allegedly demanded.
The man drove off the freeway onto a gravel road for what seemed like 15 minutes, she said. He exited the car, and Doe said she could hear him wiping down the doors and the entire surface of the car inside and out.
He drove on and then entered a paved road. Doe was dragged in her bare feet from the vehicle. Her knees bled and hurt so bad that she had trouble walking, where the glass from the broken car window and the rough pavement had ground in, she said.
But her faltering was met with only more blows to both sides of her head, including her temples and jaw, she said.
The man threw her to the ground and tore off her clothing. Doe said she struggled, knowing what was to come, her ears were ringing from the blows.
He turned her onto her stomach and raped her, she said.
"I had to give in. I thought I was going to die. I was so out of it that if I were to touch anything, I couldn't feel it anymore," she said.
He flipped her onto her back again and then squeezed hard around her neck with both hands, she said. He squeezed harder.
"He's not going to let go; he's going to snap my neck," Doe said she thought. That's when she faked being dead.
Doe said she heard the man rise and run away, and she could hear the keys to her car jingling in his pocket.
Still blindfolded, she rose and ran in the opposite direction.
"The only clothing I had is the blindfold on my head," she recalled.
Doe said she managed to work her hands free from the bindings and removed the blindfold. In the road, a car passed by. The driver did not stop. Doe saw a dark figure watching her from about 100 yards away. He wore black clothing with white lettering on the shirt, she said.
This time, she positioned herself in the middle of the road in the direct path of an approaching car and waved. She used the blindfold to cover her nakedness, she said.
Doe was cross examined by Deputy Public Defender Gilda Valeros, who asked Doe about a breakup with a former boyfriend in 2009. Valeros also asked Doe to confirm that she knew a former sex offender, from whom she had requested a referral for a bartending job. Doe said she did.
Valeros questioned if, at the beginning of her testimony, Doe had said she heard voices shouting rather than one voice. Doe clarified that she only heard one voice.
Valeros also questioned how Doe knew her assailant was black if she was blindfolded. Doe said she could tell by his voice and use of language. She also saw parts of his arms from edges beneath the blindfold, she said.
"As a bartender, have you heard young people in bars who have used Ebonics (a dialect used by some African-Americans) to emulate that slang but who are not African-Americans?" Valeros asked. Doe said she had.
Valeros also questioned how long Doe had been sleeping, citing the time periods between when Doe was stopped by the police, when she fell asleep and police records of the 911 call from the passerby at 5:20 a.m.
"From 2 a.m. to 3:30 or 4 a.m., you have no real account other than sleeping," Valeros said.
Prosecutor Erin West later said there is no way to determine the duration of the events.
Sexual Assault Response Team nurse Julia Pinero testified Doe had lacerations, abrasions and bruising on nearly every part of her body.
Pinero said Doe had injuries consistent with sexual trauma, but upon questioning by Valeros, she said she could not determine if the injuries were caused by forced or consensual intercourse.
Blanks waived his right to a continuous preliminary hearing. The court will reconvene May 16 with testimony from a DNA expert.