A self-proclaimed "nosy neighbor" said a crying female lingered outside professional basketball player David Wingate's apartment for 1 1/2 hours after a disturbance on the night that Wingate is charged with raping a 17-year-old girl.
Deborah Knowles, 36, who lives directly across the hall from Wingate in the Clary's Crossing apartment complex in Columbia, said last night that she was disturbed by reports that an alleged rape victim told police she left the apartment after the incident.
Knowles said she looked through her peephole after hearing a "loud, piercing noise and then a big scream" from Wingate's apartment between 10 and 10:30 p.m. Sunday.
She said Wingate, wearing a black sweat suit, talked to the female in the hallway and another woman for a while before returning inside his apartment.
Knowles, a licensed practical nurse, said she placed her stethoscope against her door to hear the conversation. She said the other woman continued to talk to the crying female for about 20 minutes, but went back into the apartment when Wingate re-entered the hallway.
She said Wingate spent 40 minutes talking to the woman.
"David went and held his hand like this," she said, holding out an upturned palm, "and said, 'Why are you crying?' "
Wingate, a backup guard for the San Antonio Spurs who played his high school ball at Dunbar, was arrested in his apartment Monday and charged with the second-degree rape of a 17-year-old girl. He was freed on $10,000 bond.
The 17-year-old told police that she went to Wingate's apartment with Wingate and two other men for a party Sunday evening and was drinking heavily. She said she became ill and threw up and went into the bedroom to lie on the floor.
She told police she vomited again after Wingate came into the room to check on her and he helped her wash her hands and face. She said he left the room, but returned later and started fondling her before forcing himself onto her.
The 17-year-old told police that she and her sister, who had also attended the party, left immediately after the alleged attack.
Wingate admitted to police he had intercourse with the girl, but said it was consensual. Yesterday, a man at Wingate's apartment said Wingate was not home and that "he doesn't want to be bothered."
Two other neighbors said that Wingate moved into the Columbia apartment within the last two weeks and that he appeared to be a quiet, clean-cut man.
"The only reason you'd know he's here is because of the reporters -- and because of his two fancy cars parked outside," said John Bridger, who lives down the hall from Wingate.