11 more witnesses testify in Griego rape, kidnap trial

2014-04-10T09:00:00Z 2014-04-11T23:52:08Z 11 more witnesses testify in Griego rape, kidnap trialBy EDDIE GREGG egregg@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Eleven witnesses, including two Billings Police detectives and a certified shoe inspector, testified for the state Thursday in the fourth day of testimony in the trial of suspected serial rapist Toby Eugene Griego.

Griego, 42, is being tried on 27 charges stemming from home-invasion robberies, sexual assaults, kidnappings and an attempted sexual assault last year. Prosecutors say he attacked four victims on Jan. 27, April 25, May 27 and July 2 of 2013.

The women attacked on those days testified Tuesday and Wednesday. They testified that they can be seen in deleted images Billings Police Detective Jim Woog extracted from a cellphone prosecutors say belongs to Greigo.

Shoe prints found at crime scene

Billings Police Detective Blake Richardson and Todd McCrohan, a forensic scientist with the state crime lab, testified about shoe prints found at the scene of the May 27 attack and shoes prosecutors say belong to Griego.

Richardson testified about processing that crime scene, where he photographed multiple shoe prints and made two shoe print castings that were then sent to the state crime lab.

McCrohan testified that he analyzed the castings and the photographs of the shoe prints, which he compared with shoes prosecutors said were seized from Griego’s home after he became a suspect in the case.

McCrohan testified the prints and casting matched the treads of those shoes exactly.

During cross examination by one of Griego’s two attorneys, Regional Deputy Public Defender David Duke, McCrohan confirmed that the prints could have been made by any other pair of identical shoes.

Surveillance footage

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the women assaulted on May 27 and July 2 of 2013 testified that in addition to being raped, they were forced to go with their attacker to ATMs, where they were forced to withdraw, or try to withdraw, cash.

On Thursday, two bank officials testified about surveillance footage of those transactions, which they said showed the two women at ATMs.

Chief Deputy Yellowstone County attorneys Rod Souza and Juli M. Pierce presented copies of the surveillance video and still images showing the two women.

Billings Police Detective Brett Kruger also testified Thursday. He spoke about processing the crime scene where the fourth victim was attacked. He also talked about conducting surveillance of Griego once he became a suspect in the case last summer.

According to prosecutors, Griego became a suspect after a Crimestoppers tip indicated there was a man who frequented Hobby Lobby and followed female customers as they shopped.

An assistant manager at the store, Michelle Little, testified Thursday that Griego visited Hobby Lobby a minimum of two to four times a month since she started working at the business seven years ago.

She said in that time she is only aware of Griego making purchases two or three times.

Little said she had seen him following younger women with blonde hair multiples times.

Little said she collected surveillance footage of Greigo and turned it over to detectives on July 15, 2013.

Closing arguments scheduled for Monday

At the end of testimony Thursday, presiding Judge Russell C. Fagg told the jury that prosecutors are expected to call two more witnesses, both detectives, on Friday before resting their case.

He told the jurors closing statements will begin Monday morning and that they can expect to go into deliberation mid-morning.

Duke said late Thursday afternoon that it still hasn’t been determined if Griego will testify. Duke said there are no other witnesses expected to testify for the defense.

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