"Willie Jack" was simply a witness -- and not a defendant -- when heignored his court-appointed lawyer's advice and took the stand in his friends' rape trial. After testifying that the woman consented to sex-for-drugs with him and the two defendants, he walked out of the courtroom.
And was promptly arrested.
Seems police had considered 27-year-old William H. Jackson a suspect in the gang-rape but, because the victim could not positively identify him as a third attacker, they had no case. That is, until a county police detective took notes on Jackson's witness-stand performance Wednesday.
Yesterday, while a Circuit Court jury announced guilty verdicts against the two co-defendants in the March 9 rape of a 22-year-old Pioneer City woman, Jackson sat in the county detention center, awaiting a bail-review hearing.
In closing arguments in the trial of Robert Lee Galloway and Donald Warren Johnson, Assistant Public Defender Jennifer A. Corry had expressed admiration for Jackson andhis decision to testify, saying, "There was an integrity about that man."
In response, prosecutor William C. Mulford II told the jury:"I must have grown up with a different value system. When I hear attorneys say they admire, when they praise and extol a foul-mouthed piece of scum like William Jackson, it turns my stomach. He is scum, trash. Vile, disgusting."
The jury deliberated for an hour and 45 minutes before convicting Galloway, 23, of the 1700 block Circle Road inSevern, and Johnson, 25, of the 1000 block of Cayer Drive in Glen Burnie, of first-degree rape. Both men face a maximum sentence of life in prison at their sentencings, scheduled for Nov. 8.
Lawyers for both sides described the woman as a crack addict who had been smokingthe drug for hours before the 4 a.m. incident in a vacant apartment in Meade Village.
The jury rejected the men's claims that the woman had agreed to "freak for the drugs" -- exchange sex for crack cocaine.
"This case is about the oldest profession in the world -- witha twist," defense lawyer Corry said.
"They had a deal," AssistantPublic Defender Kendel L. Sibiski told the jury. "It may not be an activity you approve of, but it was an agreement, it was consentual."
Sibiski said the woman cried rape only in response to being "ripped off" when the promised drugs turned out to be bogus.
Trying to prove that story, the defense lawyers called Jackson, of the 7800 block of Willing Court, to the stand Wednesday. Judge Martin A. Wolff appointed attorney Paul F. Harris Jr., who happened to be in a nearby courtroom, to advise Jackson on his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Jackson ignored Harris' advice against testifying.
Mulford had told county police that Jackson might testify, and detective Mark Morgan was in the courtroom, note pad in hand. Police arrested Jackson in the courthouse hallway.
In closing arguments yesterday, Mulford accused all three men of lying -- and he told the jury ofa note found in Jackson's pocket after his arrest.
He said the note, which instructed Jackson on what to say on the stand, was dictated by Galloway to his girlfriend, who delivered it to the witness.
During the trial, Jackson and the two defendants used vulgar colloquialisms in describing their various sex acts with the woman, promptingMulford, in his appearance before the jury, to describe them as "gross, foul and disgusting.
"If they talk that way in a courtroom, imagine how they talk on the street," the prosecutor said, adding that the men had no respect for women. At one point he referred to them as"gentlemen -- and I use these words only because they're not female."
At Jackson's bail-review yesterday in District Court in Annapolis, Judge Martha F. Rasin asked Jackson if he had anything to say. Jackson, an unemployed carpenter, said, "I would like to have a bond, a low bond. That's all."
Rasin set bond at $25,000.