Sexual-abuse trial begins


Micah Matthews, a 33-year-old man accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a woman in 2007, sat still at his trial on Tuesday as witnesses described the victim as now “traumatized” and “broken.”

“I feel like her soul was snatched from her,” said Darlene Olshansky, a sexual-assault nurse examiner who testified Tuesday — the first day of Matthews’ trial.

Johnson County prosecutor Janet Lyness and assistant county prosecutor Elizabeth Beglin questioned the witnesses, who recounted the events that reportedly took place June 5, 2007.
The victim — who is not identified because of DI policy — told Iowa City police officers, investigators, and Olshansky that when her dog woke her up that morning, she saw a figure standing in the doorway of her bedroom. The then 50-year-old identified the person as a black male with an athletic build wearing a light-colored shirt, said Laura Wood, a former Iowa City police officer.

Wood said the victim remembered her perpetrator “waving around a gun” as he demanded money. He allegedly forced her to drive to the UI Community Credit Union on Mormon Trek Boulevard, but he never received any of her money because of complications at the ATM. Reading from her reports, Olshansky said the man grew angry, telling the victim, “I’ll have to fuck you.”
The woman told Olshansky they returned to her home, where he then allegedly raped her anally and vaginally.

Iowa City police investigator Jenny Clarahan said the woman couldn’t remember everything, telling Clarahan at UI Hospitals and Clinics after the incident that she may have blacked out during the sexual assault.

Wood, Olshansky, and Clarahan took turns describing the woman’s injuries, noting the red marks around her neck, wrists, and ankles, bruises on her back, marks on her inner thigh, and a severely bruised left ear with dried blood inside. Lyness submitted dozens of photos taken of the injuries into evidence.

“She was visibly shaken,” Wood said, recalling the woman’s post-assault examination at the hospital. “She looked like she might be in a state of shock.”

During a vaginal exam, Olshansky testified, the woman “was crying through the whole exam and kept her eyes closed.” She also said the victim was unsure whether Matthews ejaculated.

Police didn’t link Matthews to the incident until seven months after the alleged crime. He was arrested on July 31, 2007, and charged in an unrelated burglary on Dubuque Street. Police then matched his DNA from both incidents.

Matthews is charged with first-degree kidnapping, first-degree sexual abuse, first-degree burglary, and second-degree kidnapping. He faces two life sentences and an additional 25 years in prison for his first-degree charges.

The trial will resume at 9 a.m. today.

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