The rape trial in Riley County District Court that was in its fourth day has resulted in a mistrial. That means the jury was not able to come to a unanimous decision in the trial involving Assistant Professor William Yankey. A status hearing is set for June third.
Friday was the fourth day of the rape trial against William Yankey, visiting Assistant Professor at Kansas State University.
Beginning Tuesday with jury selection, Friday held closing arguments and jury deliberation.
After two days of evidence and testimony, both the prosecuting attorney and defense attorney took turns making their final statements to the jury before they went to fulfill their duty as jurors.
The prosecuting attorney posed the jury with two questions to consider when deciding whether Yankey is indeed guilty of rape or not. The first being “what motive does the victim have to lie”. The second was “why did the defendant call the victim after the incident”.
The prosecution referenced two phone calks made after the incident that were initiated by Yankey. According to Prosecuting Attorney Barry Disney, “the [phone] records are boulders and the only version to fit [is her’s].” He adds, “she makes a statement and everything falls into place.”
Disney also brought forth into question the credibility of Yankey based on the inaccurate account of the weekend and series of events that lead up to and preceded the incident.
The defense took its turn and brought forth the issue of burden of proof and how the prosecution is the only one who needs to build their case as it is presumed Yankey is innocent and the defense doesn’t have to prove otherwise. The defense stated that the date of the incident was not the point, and to look at the evidence when making their decision.
Included in their statement, the defense presented pictures and Facebook posts as to the actions of the victim since the time of the incident, suggesting her actions created doubt as to her account of what happened when she confronted Yankey after the incident. The defense stated “she’s hiding things.” To end their closing argument the defense stated this case is “oozing of reasonable doubt.”
The trial of a K-State visiting Assistant Professor from the College of Architecture, Planning and design is in its third day, with the Riley County prosecution team indicating no more witnesses will be called. William Yankey’s rape trial began with jury selection Tuesday, and a full day Wednesday of opening remarks and testimony by the alleged defendant and a detective working the case (details can be viewed on an earlier post).
Thursday featured the alleged victim’s husband and two friends of the victim and her husband. Further accounts were provided regarding the relationship between Yankey and the victim and her husband. Testimony was that Yankey continued to spend time with the husband, with the alleged victim indicating she didn’t like it. After some time she finally told her husband of the alleged 2007 rape incident. They still did not report to law enforcement authorities, until they viewed an article regarding the defendant, with a picture of him and another woman resembling the victim. The victim said she didn’t want the same thing to happen to someone else, so the couple decided to report the alleged rape.
There were also accounts of more partying with Yankey, with him reportedly passing out at the victim’s home, and the woman lifting his shirt and drawing a smiley face on his stomach.
The defense, represented by attorney Barry Clark, has used several facebook postings as evidence.
The prosecution indicated it would be calling no more witnesses at the noon break.
After the break the prosecution rested, and the defense began to call witnesses to the stand. The first witness called by the defense was was Riley County Police officer Lori Axton. Axton described the process, and some of the initial content when the alleged victim reported the crime to police. Axton says the case was then given to the investigations unit for further action.
The defense called Yankey to the stand, and he described his relationship with the victim and her husband as “close.” Yankey says he didn’t notice a change after the alleged incident occurred, and spent many days afterwards staying over at the house. Yankey says he met the victim before he left for his home in Texas, and she told him he had came on to her the previous night. Yankey testified the extent of what was explained to him by the victim was an unwanted kiss, a groping, and a grab at her crotch. Yankey says the alleged victim was not mad at him, and only talking to him in a serious tone. Time and again Yankey says he does not remember anything that occurred that night, but Yankey says at the end of the conversation the alleged victim indicated she still wanted to be friends.
The prosecution pointed out some errors in Yankey’s initial report to police, but Yankey says he later reviewed his own records and phone to get the correct information. Yankey is still working under his contract with Kansas State University, but is no longer teaching classes. Yankey says he plans to move on to a firm in Kansas City after the trial.
The defense showed pictures with the victim and her husband at various events in Yankey was also in attendance. In one photo the victim is seen close up, and smiling at the camera. When asked who took the picture Yankey indicated it was himself, and from only about a foot away from the alleged victim’s face.
Character witnesses came forward, and said they believed Yankey to be an honest man who doesn’t break the law. One witness told the court the college of Architecture, Planning and Design was a tight knit college where professors are called by their first names, and often socialize with students after class. As a former student of Yankey’s she says she called him “Will”, and often would drink with him and then go to his house afterwards. The former student says she never had an intimate relationship with Yankey, but she knew him well and has become very close to him. She went on to say she believed he could never do what he is accused of, and believes Yankey is an honest law abiding citizen.
One of the last witnesses was Judy Roland the academic advisor for the Interior Architecture and Product Design program. Rolland says she believes Yankey is an honest man, and although required to testify through subpoena by the university, she would have spoken for Yankey if given her own choice.
Prosecutors questioned Roland based on whether she’d ever seen him drunk. Roland said no she had never seen Yankey drunk.
Judge Meryl D. Wilson informed the jury the last of the witnesses should be finished testifying on Friday morning. Trial was then recessed until Friday morning at 9 am.