MARTINEZ -- In a quiet voice and forthright manner, a Concord woman who was raped in 1997 told a Contra Costa jury on Tuesday about the day in 2010 when she picked the suspect in her cold case out of a police photo lineup.
"I was sure about it," Jane Doe, 42, who was born with Down syndrome, told prosecutor Aron DeFerrari. "No doubt at all."
Willis Dismuke Murray, 34, the man Jane Doe picked out of the lineup, is charged with rape, kidnapping for rape and attempted robbery committed on March 18, 1997, as the woman returned to her apartment after visiting her boyfriend in Oakley. The woman testified that her assailant grabbed her as she walked home from the Concord BART station, pulled her to the front yard of a house on Maria Avenue and raped her behind some bushes.
Concord police took a statement and gathered evidence -- including DNA, which they eventually sent to a private lab for analysis. In the late 1990s, DeFerrari told the jury during his opening statement, a national DNA database was established, and convicted or confessed felons, as well as arrestees on felony counts, were compelled to submit DNA samples.
In September 2009, Murray was arrested and charged with a felony. His DNA sample matched the evidence recovered from Jane Doe in 1997.
In 2010, Concord police Officer Greg Rodriguez contacted the woman. On their second meeting, he showed her an array of six mug shots. He said it took Jane Doe two seconds to identify Murray as her attacker.
"She said she had never forgotten his face," Rodriguez said.
Public defender Rebecca Brackman, during cross examination, asked Rodriguez whether he had used blind administration, non-sequential administration or confidence intervals during the photo-identification process, protocols she said are used now by the El Cerrito and Richmond police departments. Rodriguez said he had not.
The most compelling testimony came from the victim, who said she likes to color and read romance and mystery books. She testified she was in the crosswalk at the intersection of Clayton Road and Maria Avenue when an African-American man tapped her shoulder from behind and engaged her in a short conversation.
"Then he went into action," she said. "He grabbed my arm really hard and pulled me toward somebody's house. He threw me down and ..."
The woman began to cry. "Sorry," she told the court when she regained her composure.
Jane Doe said the man pulled off her clothing and raped her. She told police he choked her and slapped her face during the attack.
"Did it hurt?" DeFerrari asked her.
"Extremely," the woman said. "He said, 'Let me enjoy this.' "
Contact Gary Peterson at 925-952-5053. Follow him at Twitter.com/garyscribe.