INDIANAPOLIS -- The mother wept yesterday, telling of her daughter's recurring nightmares and broken spirit while at least one juror wiped her own tearing eyes.
The father glared, without blinking, across the courtroom at Mike Tyson as if he wanted to grab him by the throat. The former world heavyweight boxing champion caught his eye, then stared at his hands.
The young woman's voice trembled as she reported a rape on a recording of a 911 emergency call, asking the police dispatcher if anyone would believe her.
That's how the prosecution rested in Tyson's trial for allegedly raping the 18-year-old Miss Black America contestant in his hotel room during last July's Indiana Black Expo.
Tyson claims the woman consented to sex. The Tyson defense put on a few witnesses yesterday but will save its ammunition for today, when Tyson himself might testify.
So if the eighth day of the trial ended with dramatic testimony and emotion, it began with Tyson's attorneys announcing a development that's usually a staple of courtroom television dramas.
Three surprise witnesses, said Tyson's lawyers, would turn their case around and wreck the credibility of the accuser.
With the jury absent from the courtroom, defense lawyer F. Lane Heard III and others pleaded with Judge Patricia Gifford to allow the jury to hear the witnesses, three Indianapolis women who came forward last Sunday with the help of Rev. Charles Williams, the Black Expo president and a friend of Tyson and of his promoter, Don King.
But Gifford agreed with prosecutor Greg Garrison that the witnesses should not be allowed to testify because the defense violated court rules of discovery and disclosure in not telling prosecutors about them until Monday, when the prosecution's case was all but over.
The women were ready to testify that they saw the alleged victim embracing Tyson in the limousine outside the Canterbury Hotel, which the accuser has denied in court.
In an icy rebuke to Tyson's attorneys, Gifford said:
"I hope the defense realizes the court does not appreciate being put in this situation in the middle of the trial if done to cause a problem of reversible error [on appeal]."
The jury was brought in and then sat through perhaps the most riveting day of testimony since the accuser told her story of the alleged rape.
Her mother looked and spoke just like her, petite and direct. She told them that after the alleged rape, her daughter, once outgoing and cheerful, would lock herself in her bedroom alone.
"She sat in there just daydreaming," the mother testified, "and one day she said, 'Mom, I'm not [her first name] anymore. She's gone, and she's not coming back.' "
The mother began to cry as she told the jury that her daughter kept having nightmares of Tyson's face; that the only way she could sleep is when the mother read to her at night as the two slept in the mother's bed.
"I just want my daughter back," the mother said. "I just want this nightmare to be over. She's just not the same anymore. And she hasn't been the same since she came home."
The jury seemed to lock in on what she was saying. Garrison had told them during opening arguments last week they would convict Tyson with their heads and their hearts.
One male juror turned to stare at Tyson. A woman juror wiped her eyes.
Later in the day, the young woman's father was brought in by the defense, and Tyson co-counsel Kathleen Beggs described him as a hostile witness.
In an apparent effort to convince the jury that a potential civil suit was motivation in part for the rape charge, Beggs asked the father why he hired an attorney.
The father replied he'd done so to keep the media away from his family. When asked whether he plans to file a civil claim against Tyson, he said tersely that issue hadn't yet been decided.
But earlier, to cap off its case against Tyson, the prosecution was allowed to play a 911 tape over objections by Tyson's defense that were overruled by Gifford.
The tape was recorded almost 24 hours after the alleged rape. Some parts were edited, including a plea by the dispatcher to file charges against the assailant. The accuser did not identify Tyson by name, only that he was "famous."
"And it is up to you," the dispatcher said in a portion the jury didn't hear. "You probably won't be his first, and you probably won't be his last."
The jury did hear the accuser's voice describe the attack in detail. She said he lured her to his room on the pretext of meeting a bodyguard, that she tried to resist and that Tyson was excited by her refusal to have sex with him, saying that she was a "nice Christian girl" and not like "city girls" he knew.
"I just feel that people think it's my fault for going in his room, but I was just naive to believe that he was, you know, a nice person," the young woman said.
She said she was afraid to press charges because it would be her word against his, and that people would think she'd done so for money.
"Every time I've seen this on television ... I've said I did want [to], I would do something about it," the accuser said. "But I just feel so scared. It is just so different when it ..."
Dispatcher: "You know television is not like real life."
Alleged victim: "To me, yeah, I know."