Accuser says Tyson laughed at her pain, said, 'Don't fight me' Testifies dream date was to be limo ride

January 31, 1992|By E.R. Shipp | E.R. Shipp,Knight-Ridder News ServiceNew York Times News Service

INDIANAPOLIS -- The 18-year-old woman who has accused Mike Tyson of raping her last July took the stand yesterday and described what she said was a dream come true that turned into a horrifying assault in which the former heavyweight champion repeatedly warned: "Don't fight me. Don't fight me."

The attack, she said, caused her "excruciating pain," and, when she wept, "he started laughing like it was a game . . . like it was funny."

For nearly 3 1/2 hours, the woman told of joining Tyson for what she thought would be a late-night ride in the limousine of a superstar who her brother, father and grandfather had idolized, with perhaps a chance to meet other celebrities at parties going on in the city during a cultural festival.

She said she even brought her camera along for souvenir pictures.

She spoke sometimes forthrightly, sometimes haltingly and frequently with words such as "yucky" to describe her encounter with Tyson and her feelings afterward.

Tyson will tell his side of the story later in the trial, his chief lawyer, Vincent J. Fuller, said yesterday, ending speculation.

The jury of eight men and four women is being asked to decide between two diametrically opposed portrayals of the woman -- and what occurred between her and Tyson in the early hours of July 19.

To the prosecution, she is "this kid" -- a former high school cheerleader and member of the National Honor Society who is an exemplary college freshman, a Sunday school teacher and a Big Sister to a little girl in foster care.

To the defense, however, she is a "mature," calculating vixen who saw Tyson as a walking bank vault.

The 25-year-old fighter is charged with rape and three related counts, stemming from his encounter with the woman, who was a contestant in a beauty pageant held here last summer. If convicted, he faces up to 63 years in prison.

"This person," the lead prosecutor, J. Gregory Garrison, said in -- his opening statement while pointing toward Tyson, "is guilty of pinning that 18-year-old girl to a bed and confining her" and "callously and maliciously raping her even though she cried out in pain."

But, minutes later, the jury heard Fuller depict her as a sophisticated overachiever who was perfectly capable of holding her own in the presence of older people.

She was educated and poised and mature "beyond her 18 years," Fuller said, and Tyson, who never finished high school, was no match for her.

Shortly after she met Tyson on July 18, Fuller told the jurors, the woman began singing the lyrics "Money, money, money, money, money . . ." from a popular song, "For the Love of Money."

And after arranging to go out with him, Fuller said, the woman told other contestants: "He's rich. Did you see what Robin Givens [an actress formerly married to Tyson] got out of him? Besides, he's dumb."

About all that the prosecution and defense agree upon is this: Tyson was in town as part of a cultural festival known as the Indiana Black Expo and the woman was a contestant in the Miss Black America pageant held as part of the festival.

Both sides also agree that the two met for the first time in the morning or early afternoon of July 18, when Tyson stopped by the hotel ballroom where the 23 contestants were rehearsing a dance routine for the pageant finals.

Tyson and the young woman talked about going out on a date.

But what was said or understood and what happened sometime after 2 a.m. the following day when the two were together is the dispute that the jury must resolve.

Tyson's accuser and another contestant in the pageant who testified earlier in the day described the giddy, star-struck reaction all the young women had when they met Tyson and Johnny Gill, a member of the group New Edition. While filming a promotional spot for the pageant, which was aired around the nation in the fall, Tyson chatted with the woman, both witnesses testified.

Later, during the filming, which had to be shot several times because Tyson repeatedly flubbed his lines, Tyson hugged her, she testified, and asked if she would like to go out with him.

"Sure," she said brightly.

Tyson offered to take one of the woman's pageant roommates along, too, and the woman said she asked him to make it a double date with Gill escorting her friend.

But Fuller said that the woman knew that Tyson had a different kind of date on his mind from the time that she and Tyson first spoke of a date at the rehearsal.

"In that conversation, there are explicit sexual references," Fuller told the jury. "You will hear testimony to that effect."

She said Tyson called her from his limousine at 1:36 a.m., saying: "Just come on down. I want to talk to you. We can go around Indianapolis."

She suggested that they meet the next day. But Tyson said he was leaving town early in the morning, and she agreed to join him.

She said Tyson told her he needed to make a brief stop at his hotel suite. She accompanied him to his suite, where, she said, Tyson raped her.

Garrison asked the woman how, after the assault and the pain she felt for days after, she could continue with the beauty pageant on July 21.

Noting that she had played softball for 12 years, sometimes with bruised ribs and broken fingers, she said: "I always make the game and finish the play. I just never quit."

She went to a hospital on July 20, but said she decided to press charges only when her parents asked if she could live with herself if Tyson attacked another woman.

No scalping

Ticket scalping is legal in Indiana, but Judge Patricia Gifford, presiding over the Mike Tyson trial in Indianapolis, won't let that extend to seats in her courtroom. Citing some building authority rules, she has ruled said scalping would not be permitted in the area of the Marion Superior Court building and that violators would be subject to criminal contempt of court.

On Wednesday, Greg O'Dell, 18, of Indianapolis, had sold a ticket for $100, and had planned to expand his business.

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