In trial No. 1, William H. Jackson was a witness. A court-appointed lawyer had advised him to exercise his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and refuse to testify, but Jackson took the stand to say a woman consented to sex-for-drugs with him and the two defendants.
Having provided police with a confession that he was at the scene of the crime, he walked out of the courtroom and was promptly arrested.
In trial No. 2., which ended yesterday in county Circuit Court, Jackson was a defendant. This time, he walked out of the courtroom as a convicted rapist.
A jury deliberated for an hour and a half before convicting Jackson, 28, of first-degree rape and a first-degree sex offense in a March 9, 1991, incident in which a woman said she madea 3 a.m. drug run from her Pioneer City home to Meade Village in Severn, only to be gang-raped.
Jackson and the two co-defendants in the first trial, Robert L. Galloway and Donald W. Johnson, insisted the woman was "freaking" -- that is, exchanging sex for crack cocaine. But two juries in two trials believed the 23-year-old woman when she said the men led her into a vacant apartment they said was used as a stash house for drugs.
There, the woman testified, she was sexually assaulted by four or more men.
The woman, who has since kicked her crack habit and moved to Columbia, was not present when the jury announced its verdict against Jackson, who resides in the 7800 block of Willing Court, Pasadena.
Robert Bittman, an assistant state's attorney, said afterward: "The jury recognized that although (the victim) was doing something bad in that she was looking for drugs, she still has certain personal rights against crime, and she was a victim ofcrime, a terrible crime."
The woman testified she was dragged into a bedroom in the vacant apartment where, fearing for her safety, she submitted to the sexual assaults. During the first trial last year,Johnson, Galloway and Jackson used vulgar colloquialisms in describing their various sex acts with the woman, prompting a prosecutor to describe the men as "gross, foul and disgusting."
Before that firsttrial, police had considered Jackson a suspect in the rape but, because the victim could not positively identify him as a third attacker,they had no case. But a county police detective took notes on Jackson's witness-stand performance, leading to the man's arrest.
After the arrest, police found a note in Jackson's pocket. Prosecutor William C. Mulford II 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.
The note was not allowed into evidence atJackson's trial because he had never been charged with perjury, Bittman, the prosecutor, said. Galloway, 23, of Severn, was sentenced in November to 15 years in prison; Johnson, 25, of Glen Burnie, receiveda 12-year sentence.
The maximum sentence for first-degree rape and first-degree sex offense is life in prison. Bittman said he will likely recommend that Jackson be sentenced within guidelines which, taking into account Jackson's criminal background that includes convictions for robbery and drug offenses, could result in 30 to 60 years in prison.
Judge Eugene M. Lerner set sentencing for June 18.