Brock Turner, the 20-year-old former Stanford University student charged with sexually assaulting an unconscious and intoxicated young woman on campus last January, testified in court in Palo Alto Wednesday that the woman verbally, willingly consented to the sexual activity they engaged in.
He also said that she was awake, conscious and responsive throughout all of their interactions that evening, including when they kissed and he digitally penetrated her with her consent on the ground behind a dumpster to the rear of the Kappa Alpha fraternity house.
This was in sharp contrast to the testimony of numerous witnesses who described her as unresponsive and unconscious from the point she was first discovered around 1 a.m., throughout a 30-minute ambulance ride to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose and for several hours at the hospital until she regained consciousness at 4:15 a.m.
The woman, Emily Doe, whose name the Palo Alto Weekly has changed to protect her privacy, was 22 years old the time and a recent college graduate. She has testified she has no memory of the alleged assault nor of meeting Turner. Expert witnesses for both the defense and prosecution have said that she was likely in an alcohol-induced blackout, meaning she lost some memory of the evening.
Turner testified that Doe at no point seemed too intoxicated to understand what was going on or communicate with him. He said he saw her dancing by herself and told her he liked her dancing. She laughed and said, "thanks," he testified. He then asked her if she wanted to dance with him. She responded, "sure," he said. They danced for about 10 minutes before starting to kiss. He asked if she wanted to go back with him to his dorm. She again said, "sure," he said Wednesday. She also responded positively when he asked if she wanted him to digitally penetrate her, Turner said.
Turner admitted to taking off Doe's underwear and moving the top of her dress and her bra down so he could fondle her. She was found unconscious that night with her underwear on the ground to her side, her dress pulled up to her waist and her genitalia exposed. He said he never took his pants off.
"Was it ever your intention to rape (Doe)?" defense attorney Michael Armstrong asked his client.
"Absolutely not," Turner replied.
Turner is facing three felony sexual-assault charges: assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated or unconscious person; sexual penetration of an intoxicated person; and sexual penetration of an unconscious person. In February, he pleaded not guilty to five felony charges, which were later reduced to three.
Turner said during cross examination that on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the most drunk he's ever been, he was a seven that night. At 3:15 a.m., his blood alcohol content (BAC) registered at 0.13, above the legal driving limit of 0.08, and was estimated by a prosecution witness to have been 0.171 at the time of the alleged assault, at about 1 a.m. Doe's BAC came in at 0.127 or 0.129 around 7 a.m. that morning and was estimated to be at 0.241 or 0.249 around 1 a.m.
During the prosecution's cross examination, Deputy District Attorney Alaleh Kianerci vigorously attacked Turner's credibility, attempting to poke holes in his detailed account of the evening, which stood in contrast to a less detailed statement he gave to a Stanford police detective in the early hours of Jan. 18, 2015.
She asked why he lied to the investigating officer, Mike Kim (who testified just before Turner on Wednesday), about running away from two male Stanford graduate students who intervened when they saw Turner "thrusting" on top of an unmoving woman on the ground. In a police report, Kim wrote that Turner said "he doesn't think he ran." Instead, Turner recalled that he wasn't feeling well and had just stood up to leave when he was "suddenly tackled by a group of guys," Kim's report states.
Turner said Wednesday that shortly before the encounter with the two graduate students, both of whom also testified in this trial, he and Doe were "dry humping," which caused his stomach to "get upset." He thought he was going to vomit and allegedly said to her, "I think I'm going to throw up." She responded, "Oh, OK," he testified. That was the last verbal interaction the two had, Turner said.
Dizzy, he "stumbled" down a small incline and then "realized" there was a man next to him, Turner said Wednsday. The man said something along the lines of , "What the f; you're sick," and grabbed his shoulder, Turner testified. Turner replied, "I didn't do anything."
The man, Peter Jonsson, has testified that he first called out to Turner, "what the f are you doing? She's unconscious," while Turner was still on top of Doe. Turner then got up and ran away, according to Jonsson.
Jonsson tried to restrain Turner, which Turner said Wednesday made him really scared," so he ran. Jonsson and the other graduate student, Carl Arndt, never threatened him, Turner said under cross-examination, but he thought they were going to try to "hurt me."
Turner did not tell Kim this during their Jan. 18 interview, he confirmed under oath. He also did not recount the various verbal interactions he and Doe allegedly had or that they danced for about 10 minutes earlier in the evening. He also never complained to Kim about pain in his wrist but said in court Wednesday that he suffered a broken wrist as a result of the physical exchange with Jonsson and Arndt.
Turner told Kianerci he was not lying to Kim but was in shock and couldn't think clearly at the time.
He had just learned he had been "charged with such a heinous crime (that) I never thought I'd be charged with ... I couldn't think clearly," Turner said.
Kim was the first person to tell him that Doe had been found unresponsive on the ground that night, Turner testified.
"The entire time I was with her, if she was ever unconscious, I would have gone for help," he said.
Over the course of the trial, through more than a dozen witnesses who testified on behalf of the prosecution, Kianerci sought to show jurors that Doe was too intoxicated to give consent. She showed photographs of her curled in a fetal position on the ground surrounded by firefighters and medics treating her that night; asked the supervisor for the Santa Clara County crime lab's toxicology unit to discuss the mental and physical impairments someone at her level of intoxication would exhibit; played an almost entirely incomprehensible voicemail Doe left her boyfriend at 12:15 a.m.; and had everyone from the first police officer on the scene to the graduate students who found her describe her lack of responsiveness.
Defense attorney Michael Armstrong, on the other hand, called an expert witness Tuesday to testify that someone who is blackout drunk can be walking, talking and making "voluntary decisions," while their brain is not storing memories of what they're doing due to their level of intoxication.
Kianerci challenged's this witness' integrity, calling into question the financial compensation for her testimony (more than $8,000) and communication she had with Armstrong leading up to the trial that Kianerci said indicated she had a "vested interest" in the outcome of the case.
The trial, which began Monday, March 14, will resume Friday morning at 9 a.m. at the Palo Alto courthouse. The defense is expected to call more witnesses.
To see a timeline of events in the Brock Turner case, click here.
Read the Palo Alto Weekly's coverage of the Brock Turner trial and other sexual-assault cases at Stanford here.