10/31/2014

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Avila’s defense attorney called key witnesses to testify at rape trial

Avila’s defense attorney called key witnesses to testify at rape trial
ASOTIN, WA - The second day of testimony in the trial for a man accused of raping an elderly woman in a local nursing home is now complete.

Reporter Veronica Miracle takes you into the courtroom as Luis Avila's attorney called on witnesses, while the prosecutor talked DNA evidence.

On the second day of trial for 39-year-old Luis Avila, testimony from key witnesses painted the alleged rape victim as attention seeking and untruthful. Brandon Praus is a caregiver at Sycamore Glen and has been working there for four years. He says the 72-year-old often had nightmares. The victim had been raped by a convicted caregiver at a former facility.

"When I come in, she said that someone had raped her," said Praus. "And I thought it was either another dream because that's how she would state her dreams would happen."

"She's not real credible," said Sycamore Glen Owner, Sharee Kromrei. "When she tells you something, it may not seem as it appears."

Both Sycamore Glen Owner Sharee Kromrei and Praus said the woman wanted to move out of the facility and transition into independent care.

"So she was fairly depressed and she had made the statement of 'I thought because of what I said I would be out of here by now," said Praus. "I asked that if she said that as a way to try to move and she said maybe I did."

However, Asotin County Prosecutor Ben Nichols countered those arguments with evidenciary support in the form of DNA. He brought the registered nurse who contacted the rape kit for the elderly woman. The defense argues that Avila masturbated in the bathroom and the alleged victim came in contact with the semen shortly thereafter.

"How reasonable would it be that the sperm which the doctor found was there as a result of her sitting on a toilet seat two days prior, having showered in the meantime and then cleaned prior to going to the hospital?" asked Nichols.

"I wouldn't think that would be likely," said Registered Nurse Courtney Schlee.

A DNA analyst for Washington State Patrol said the extracts from the rape kit are nothing short of an exact match to Luis Avila's DNA.

"In this case were you able to get a fairly distinct profile of the DNA donor?" asked Nichols.

"Yes I was able to compare the sample to the listed suspect and the statistic I am able to add to that is one in four-hundred-quadrillion," said Washington State Patrol DNA Analyst, Beau Baggenstoss.

If the jury decides Avila is guilty he could face life in prison for the Class A felony. Closing statements and a decision are expected Thursday.
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