Current weather

  • Scattered clouds
  • 54°
    Scattered clouds

Sports Briefs

Posted: Tuesday, October 21, 2003

KPHA Squirt B's fourth in Anchorage

The KPHA Squirt B hockey team traveled to Anchorage for the 11th Annual Bulldog Invitational Tournament this weekend and placed fourth with an overtime loss in their final game.

KPHA goalie William Granger notched three shutouts during the tournament while Zachary Zulkanycz, Sean Endsley and Zack Sonnichsen each netted hat tricks. Zack Sonnichsen was a catalyst for the KPHA squad.

Judge orders rape trial for Kobe Bryant

EAGLE, Colo. Kobe Bryant must stand trial on a charge of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old resort worker, a judge ruled Monday, clearing the way for a celebrity trial the likes of which hasn't been seen since O.J. Simpson.

Eagle County Judge Frederick Gannett chided prosecutors for presenting ''a minimal amount of evidence,'' but said it was enough to order the trial.

The Los Angeles Lakers guard could face a life sentence if convicted. His next appearance, in district court, is set for Nov. 10.

Bryant has said the sex was consensual. His attorneys suggested the woman's injuries came during sex with other men in the days before her encounter with Bryant at a posh resort in nearby Edwards.

The defense can appeal Gannett's ruling, but such appeals are rare, legal experts said.

Bryant practiced with the Los Angeles Lakers at their El Segundo, Calif., facility on Monday and it wrapped up about two hours before the judge issued his ruling.

Bryant was asked then about the decision that would be coming out of the Colorado courtroom.

''What courtroom?'' he said.

At Bryant's first appearance in state district court he will be advised of his rights, of the charge and of the possible penalties. He could enter a plea during that hearing.

Unless Bryant waives his right to a speedy trial, the trial would be scheduled within six months of his plea.

After Monday's practice, Bryant was asked how much anxiety he was feeling.

''Basketball, zero anxiety. Other stuff, a little anxiety,'' he said. ''But now I just pretty much, you know, give it up. I've pretty much done all I can. Now I'll let God carry me the rest of the way. I feel comfortable with that.''

Prosecutors in Colorado almost always succeed in persuading a judge to order a trial after a preliminary hearing because the standard of proof required is relatively low. Allegations are usually enough to advance the case to a higher court for trial, where the standard of proof is much higher.

Gannett said that although prosecutors presented ''a minimal amount of evidence,'' what they did show suggested ''submission and force.'' The evidence included photographs of the woman's injuries, as well as blood on her underwear and on Bryant's T-shirt.

District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said he was ''pleased'' by the decision, ''although we had confidence all along in the case.''

Bryant's attorneys issued a statement saying that although they knew their chances of getting a dismissal had been slim, ''the prosecution's case simply had to be tested.''

''The standard at trial is a far higher burden: proof beyond a reasonable doubt. When this case is tested by that standard, Kobe Bryant will be found innocent,'' Pamela Mackey and co-counsel Hal Haddon said in a written statement.

John Clune, the lawyer representing Bryant's accuser, declined comment.

Bryant's preliminary hearing lasted nearly two days and included graphic testimony about an encounter prosecutors say turned violent after flirting by both Bryant and his accuser.

Sheriff's Detective Doug Winters testified the woman went to Bryant's room at the Lodge & Spa at Cordillera shortly after checking him and his two bodyguards in to the resort.

The two chatted and began kissing. But a few minutes later, Bryant grabbed the woman by the throat, bent her over a chair and raped her, asking her several times not to tell anybody, Winters testified.

She told Bryant ''no'' at least twice, and he stopped only after she pulled his hand off her neck, Winters said.

The woman was left with vaginal tears consistent with assault and her blood was found on Bryant's shirt, Winters said.

But he acknowledged under cross-examination by defense attorney Pamela Mackey that the woman had sex with another man shortly before her encounter with Bryant. She also didn't tell Winters initially that she had said ''no.''

The defense argued that semen and pubic hair found in the woman's underwear that weren't from Bryant prove he is innocent of rape an argument ridiculed by prosecutor Greg Crittenden. He said the evidence of rape was ''uncontradicted.''

A trial could attract the kind of attention that surrounded Simpson's 1995 case, when he was acquitted of killing ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman after a nationally televised trial. A civil jury later found him liable.

At trial, any discussion of the woman's sexual history could be limited by Colorado's rape shield law, unless Bryant's attorneys successfully argue the evidence fits into one of the few exceptions.

Prosecutors, however, must convince a jury that a woman flattered by Bryant's attention had no intention of having sex with him as they kissed. Winters acknowledged she told him she expected Bryant to ''put a move'' on her when she accepted the invitation to his room.

Hurlbert has said he held back some evidence, knowing a preliminary hearing requires a judge to look at the evidence in a way that is most favorable to prosecutors.



CONTACT US

  • 150 Trading Bay Rd, Kenai, AK 99611
  • Switchboard: 907-283-7551
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-283-3584
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Business Fax: 907-283-3299
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-335-1257
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback

ADVERTISING

SUBSCRIBER SERVICES

SOCIAL NETWORKING

MORRIS ALASKA NEWS