The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Caroline teen found not guilty of rape
BY PORTSIA SMITH
A Caroline County jury found a teenager not guilty of rape in circuit court last night.
The jury of nine women and three men deliberated for 20 minutes before reaching that verdict just after 7 p.m.
Isaiah Juwaun Howard, 16, of Ruther Glen was tried as an adult although he was a 15-year-old freshman at Caroline High School at the time of the accusation.
The allegation stemmed from an Oct. 13, 2011, claim that Howard raped a 15-year-old sophomore, whom he had previously dated, in the school’s auditorium while she was studying after school hours.
“He laid me down and pushed his body onto mine so I couldn’t get up,” his accuser testified in court. “It hurt. He couldn’t get it all the way in and he got frustrated and ended up leaving.”
The girl also said they had gotten into a verbal altercation that escalated during lunch earlier that day.
She testified that he called her “a hoe, slut and a skank” in front of everybody in the cafeteria.
That, according to defense attorney Lee Kilduff, was her motive to get back at Howard.
“She was angry, she was upset and she was embarrassed,” Kilduff said. “And she was going to get back at Mr. Howard.”
The girl testified that she did remove her underwear and was wearing only short shorts and a tank top when she was in the auditorium.
Howard didn’t testify during the nearly eight-hour trial, but in his initial interrogation he told investigators that he did not go inside the auditorium at all that day. That conflicted with school surveillance video.
“Innocent people don’t lie,” said Commonwealth’s Attorney Tony Spencer. “He lied about what he did because he knew he was guilty.”
A handful of students testified that they saw the two of them in the auditorium that day and that the girl did come out crying.
A forensic nurse who examined the girl said her results were inconclusive, meaning she couldn’t say that a sexual assault did or did not occur. She did testify that there was some redness on the cervix, which could be normal of a pubescent teenage girl, but that was not the same area where the girl claimed she had pain.
After the verdict was read, both Howard and the girl burst into tears.
Howard, who has been on house arrest since the incident and has been homeschooled, said he is relieved.
“I’m feeling good now,” he said. “Thank God. Thank God.”
Howard’s mother, Vanessa Lewis of Louisa, gave birth to Howard as a result of being raped.
“It has been a rough road,” she said. “Now we can be a family again.”
The girl declined to comment after court, but yelled out that she wasn’t going back to that school.
Portsia Smith: 540/374-5419