3rd victim testifies in rape, kidnapping trial

2014-04-09T09:00:00Z 2014-04-11T15:00:08Z 3rd victim testifies in rape, kidnapping trialBy EDDIE GREGG egregg@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

3:45 p.m. update: In testimony Wednesday afternoon, the fourth victim said she woke up to someone talking to her.

She testified that the attacker used her clothing to bind and gag her. "It was terrifying. I felt completely defenseless," she said.

She testified that the man raped her with objects. She also said she heard a clicking sound, like a camera.

"When you’re in your own room and a strange man is violating you," she said. "It is the most horrible thing I’ve ever been through."

She also testified that the man described her boyfriend.

When the attacker asked her for money, she offered to take him to an ATM. She said he dressed her, but she was still bound, blindfolded and gagged. At the bank, he forced her to get $200 from the ATM.

She testified that the attacker took her back to her residence and again raped her with objects.

She said the man then put tape over her eyes and mouth and then took her to an irrigation ditch near her home. She said he told her to lie down.

"I was thinking he was going to push my head in (the ditch) and that's exactly what he did," she said.

She said she thought she was going to pass out and tried to fight him as he dunked her in the water.

"I just remember thinking, 'you’re not going to die like this,'" she said.

She said he then made her get into the water and dunked her entire body under the water several times.

She testified that he then took her back to her residence, making her climb over a fence on the way. At home, she said that he took her into the shower to wash off, then took her back to the bedroom and tied her to the bedposts..

She was raped again with foreign objects. While still bound and blindfolded, he smothered her with a comforter two to three times.

Before he left, he made her scrub off and also scrubbed her, she said.

After he left, she drove to City Brew on Grand Avenue and called 911.

1:30 p.m. update: After a break for lunch, Melynda Todd, Griego's ex-girlfriend testified that Griego bought her a stun gun because she had been assaulted at the end of February.

Also testifying Wednesday morning was Rebecca Neiman, who was the victim's roommate, and nurse Andrea Wells, who examined the victim after the attack.

Nieman testified that she purchased a mattress from Mattress Land. The mattress was delivered to her apartment. Griego worked at Mattress Land and was one of the men who delivered the mattress, Neiman said.

Wells testified that the victim had injuries all over her body, and marks consistent with being raped. She said the wound to the victim's head had to be stapled shut. She said she also had an injury above her eye, abrasions on her back and injuries on her hand.

She testified that the victim also had marks on her wrist and ankles, consistent with being tied up.

Wells said the victim also had abrasions to her knees, a bruise on her shin and abrasions on her feet and big toe, consistent with being tackled to the ground.

11 a.m. update: After a 15-minute recess, the victim finished her testimony.

She testified that after the attacker left, she grabbed a knife from the kitchen and drove to the Crowne Plaza and had an employee call 911. She said she was trying to go to the police station but couldn't find it. Police arrived at the hotel within minutes, and she was taken to a hospital.

Surveillance video of the victim entering the hotel was shown to the jury. Her 911 call was also played.

The victim was also shown images taken from Griego's phone. She confirmed it is her in the images. She said the attacker took her purse, gun, electric toothbrush, sheets, some of her clothing and the alcohol bottles.

She testified that she had too many injuries to count and was sore inside for four to five days.

She said she moved out of her apartment that day and bought another gun. She said she quit her job and didn't work for a few months. She relocated to another state.

She said the attack broke up some of her friendships. She dropped out of school and has post-traumatic stress disorder.

"This is the town I was raped in, Billings," she said.

10 a.m. update: The third victim to testify in the rape and kidnapping trial of Toby Eugene Griego took the stand Wednesday morning to describe the attack on her, which occurred May 27.

She testified that one of her roommates bought a mattress in May 2013 from Mattress Land, where Griego worked. The mattress was delivered to her home.

She said both of her roommates were out of town the night of the attack. She testified that she went to bed around 10:30 p.m.

"I remember waking up screaming and there was a Taser to the back of my neck," she said.

She said she keeps her doors and windows locked and that she also owned a handgun, a 9mm Taurus. She had a concealed carry permit for the gun, which she kept in the top drawer of her dresser.

The attacker found the gun and pressed it against her back and asked if it was loaded; it was. "I thought that if I didn't cooperate he would kill me," she said.

She testified that her hands and legs were tied together behind her back, and a belt was tied around her neck. She said she was also gagged and blindfolded. She said he pulled her head off the bed and choked her with the belt.

She testified that the attacker brought from the kitchen a bottle of red wine, a fourth of a bottle of rum and a fourth of a bottle of vodka and forced her to drink it all.

She said that if she didn't drink fast enough, he would choke her again. She was then raped with some kind of object. She testified that she started vomiting, but the rape continued.

When she offered the attacker money, he untied her and took her to Western Security Bank at Grand Avenue and 24th Street. She testified that she tried to run once there and made it 20 to 30 feet before being tackled from behind. 

She said the attacker put her back in the vehicle and drove to one back, but her card wouldn't work at that ATM. She said they then drove to her bank and she couldn't withdraw money.

She testified that they returned to her residence, and she was raped with an object. She said the attacker used the stun gun on her as he raped her. She said she was vomiting and bleeding from being tackled at the bank.

At some point, the attacker forced her to shower and took her back to her room.

She said the attacker threatened to go to her hometown, which he named specifically, and kill her family and friends if she told anyone. She said he then took her gun and covered her with her comforter and left.

Two women that prosecutors said were attacked by suspected serial rapist Toby Eugene Griego testified on Tuesday, giving detailed accounts of what happened when they were assaulted last year.

Griego, 42, is being tried on 27 charges in connection with a string of home-invasion robberies, sexual assaults, kidnappings and an attempted sexual assault last year. He is alleged to have attacked four victims on Jan. 27, April 25, May 27 and July 2.

The women attacked on the first two of those dates were among the nine witnesses who testified Tuesday on behalf of the state.

The first victim testified Tuesday morning that she was repeatedly raped and repeatedly forced to bathe over about two hours early on Jan. 27.

The second victim testified that she awoke early on April 25 to a man in her bedroom. The man bound her and attempted to rape her, but she was able to fight him off and he ran away. The Gazette is not identifying either victim.

Both victims also testified that pictures — recovered from a phone seized from Greigo after he became a suspect in the case — showed them as the attacks were happening.

First victim testifies

“I woke up to a hand over my mouth and a knife to my throat and someone telling me not to scream,” the first victim testified.

She had been hanging out with friends the night before, first bowling and then playing a board game until she went to sleep.

She said her attacker bound, gagged, blindfolded and raped her with objects he found in her home. The man then forced her into a bathtub and made her scrub her body.

"He grabbed my hair and pulled me out of the tub," she said, during direct examination by Chief Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Rod Souza.

"I did (cry out) because it hurt so bad,” she said, explaining she was again violently raped. “I tried wiggling my body out of his grip and he hit me again. Blows to the head."

The victim also testified she could hear a clicking sound, like that of a camera.

She testified she was again forced to bathe.

The attacker, whom she said she never got a good look at, dunked her head under the water. She testified that she was thinking "that this man is going to drown me in my own bathtub."

She said after being raped yet again, the man put her face in a pillow and told her not to scream or move until he left. He pretended to leave the residence, but returned, mocked her, and then left, she said.

The woman estimated the ordeal lasted about two hours. “It seemed to go on forever,” she said.

During cross examination by Regional Deputy Public Defender David Duke, one of Griego’s two attorneys, the woman testified that she never got a good look at her attacker and thought he may have been someone she had met through her work as a server.

She had testified earlier she thought this because of comments her attacker made, including when he asked about her “money bag,” which she used to keep tips in.

“It was a working theory in my head because I needed to find someone to blame,” she told Duke.

Duke zeroed in on the description she gave to investigators, that of a white male in his 30s with blonde hair.

She said she based that description on seeing a small portion of her attacker’s light-skinned lower arm.

After the man left, she went to the home of a neighbor, who called 911. A recording of the call was played for jurors.

The neighbor who made that call, Tamika Wilson, and a responding officer, David Firebaugh, of the Billings Police Department, also testified on Tuesday.

Firebaugh testified that a man matching the description of a white male with blonde hair in his 30s was arrested on unrelated charges about a half mile from the attack on the first victim.

Duke questioned Firebaugh about this extensively, focusing on the fact that the man in question matched the description the victim gave for her attacker.

Firebaugh confirmed this was true, but also testified the man adamantly denied being involved in the rape and was never charged in connection to the assault.

Firebaugh’s testimony was followed by that of Lyndie Jolly, a nurse who examined the first victim.

Second victim testifies

The second victim began her testimony early Tuesday afternoon.

She said she had been out with friends on April 24, came home around midnight and immediately went to sleep.

She woke to “a man kneeling next to my bed, kind of going through stuff.”

Her attacker started choking her with one hand while he had his other hand over her mouth, she said.

She testified that he asked where her cash was and if anyone else was in the house.

"I thought it was pretty much a robbery that was going wrong," she said, but then the man gagged her with a sock, flipped her on her stomach and tied her hands with a T-shirt.

“I was terrified,” she said. “I didn’t know if I was going to get raped or killed or what was going to happen.”

Just as the first victim did, the woman testified that she heard clicking sounds, like those of a camera.

When she fought back, the man gouged her eyes with his fingers, the woman said, but she struggled again, this time getting free.

She screamed at the man to leave, and they struggled again. He punched her in the eye. When she looked up, he had run away.

She said after cutting her bindings with a pair of scissors, she went to her roommate's room and broke down the door. She said they pushed a trunk in front of the door because they were worried the attacker was still in the house.

Her roommate called 911.  

During his cross-examination of the second victim, J. Thomas Bartleson, one of Griego’s two attorneys, asked about one of her former co-workers, Phillip Matthews.

The woman testified that last June she had mentioned Matthews to law enforcement in connection to her attack because he was bald, had stubbly facial hair, was white and had a medium build — all of which were consistent with her assailant.

Bartleson, who works in the major-crimes unit of the Office of the State Public Defender, admitted as evidence a photo of Matthews.

Under questioning by Chief Deputy Yellowstone County Attorney Juli M. Pierce, the woman explained that she had never named Matthews as her attacker.

"As you sit hear today, do you think Phillip Matthews is the man who broke into your home, kidnapped you and attempted to rape you,” Pierce asked.

“No, I do not,” the woman said.

“And the pictures you identified today in the courtroom were on the defendant’s phone, correct?” Pierce asked.

“Yes,” the woman replied.

The state then called Matthews who testified it was “disgusting” that anyone would suggest he was involved with the attempted rape of the second victim.

“I love my mom and dad very much and my girlfriend and I wouldn’t want anyone to think of me that way,” he said. “It’s just nothing I would want to be associated with.”

Matthews said he was sleeping, working or otherwise occupied at the times of all four attacks Griego is charged with committing.

The prosecution's final witness Tuesday was Billings Police Officer Grant Morrison, who testified about responding to the attacks on May 27 and July 2.

Both of those victims are scheduled to testify in Griego’s trial, which is scheduled to resume Wednesday at 9 a.m.

Copyright 2015 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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