Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion  Alaska State Trooper Investigator Mark Pearson listens to Public Defender Josh Cooley during Shane Heiman's trial for burglary, attempted rape, assault and resisting arrest on April 15, 2015 in Kenai, Alaska. The defense and prosecution rested Thursday and closing arguments will be heard Friday before the jury begins delibrations.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Alaska State Trooper Investigator Mark Pearson listens to Public Defender Josh Cooley during Shane Heiman's trial for burglary, attempted rape, assault and resisting arrest on April 15, 2015 in Kenai, Alaska. The defense and prosecution rested Thursday and closing arguments will be heard Friday before the jury begins delibrations.

State, defense rest in Heiman case

  • By Rashah McChesney
  • Thursday, April 16, 2015 9:20pm
  • News

After five days of witness testimony and evidence introduction, the attorney prosecuting a Soldotna man’s burglary, attempted rape and assault case rested. It took Shane Heiman’s defense team 30 minutes to finish its case.

Jurors will hear closing arguments Friday, then enter deliberations in a case that the prosecution has attempted to frame as one of three instances in which Heiman invaded women’s homes either intending to molest them or raping them. Heiman’s defense has consistently attacked the credibility of a witness who said Heiman raped her and called into question the evidence-gathering techniques of Soldotna police and Alaska State Troopers.

Heiman is currently facing three felony burglary, assault and attempted sexual assault charges connected to a Dec. 13, 2013 home invasion near Tobacco Road, south of Soldotna. He also faces a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest. If convicted, he faces more than 99 years in prison and up to $410,000 in fines.

Jurors heard Thursday from Alaska State Trooper Sgt. Mark Pearson, whose investigation into a Nov. 13, 2013 report of a kidnapping and rape in Soldotna eventually led him to the home invasion case that Heiman is currently being tried for, after Heiman’s DNA was matched to DNA taken from the sexual assault response kit of the alleged rape victim.

Pearson told jurors that investigators matched footprints from Heiman’s shoes to both the November and December crime scenes. They also confiscated several items from Heiman’s truck after it was impounded during his arrest.

Heiman’s defense attorney, Josh Cooley, asked Pearson why investigators had not had DNA testing done on several pieces of evidence they had collected during the November 2013 rape case, including a hair found on a headlamp confiscated from Heiman’s truck and the numerous McDonald’s bags found in the truck. The prosecution has used the headlamp as evidence that Heiman has a pattern in his home invasions as both of the women in the 2013 cases testified that he blinded them with a light after waking them up in their bedrooms.

J.Y., the alleged rape victim in the November case, told investigators and jurors that Heiman placed a paper McDonald’s bag over her head before taking her out of her apartment, pushing her into his truck and raping her over the course of several hours.

Cooley said J.Y. had told investigators that she had been raped on a seat in Heiman’s truck and asked if Pearson had done any testing on the truck seats to look for biological evidence of the rape. Pearson said that officers had confiscated the seat covers, but had not done any testing.

Cooley continued to attack J.Y,’s credibility.

“(She) also told you that a knife was put to her throat,” Cooley said. “That she was poked in the back as she walked down her stairs. Were there any photographs of injuries sustained while being poked with a knife?”

Pearson said there had been no knife wounds found during J.Y.’s sexual assault response exam.

J.Y. testified that she escaped from Heiman’s truck near Skyview High School and ran to the Kaladi Brother’s coffee on the Sterling Highway — just over two miles away.

“Was there any report from anybody who said ‘Hey, there’s a girl in a T-shirt and sweats that appear to be half falling down, running down the street?” Cooley said.

“No,” Pearson said.

Finally, Cooley asked Pearson about his notes on his interviews with J.Y.

“There’s a number of times (J.Y.) refers to (Heiman) as ‘we went here,’ and you note that in quotes in your report,” Cooley said. “You noted in the report that referred to her and (Heiman) as ‘us.’ And, you noted that her demeanor was generally calm.”

Pearson agreed with each of Cooley’s statements. Cooley also said that J.Y. had laughed when she described Heiman putting the McDonald’s bag over her head, before he finished questioning Pearson.

Prosecuting Attorney Kelly Lawson asked Pearson about the context behind J.Y. laughing when Pearson interviewed her about the McDonald’s bag.

Pearson said that J.Y. found it ironic that she had eaten at McDonald’s, then ended up with a bag over her head, smelling the french fries.

“Did she, at any point, give you the impression that she found any of what Shane Heiman had done to her funny?” Lawson said.

“No,” Pearson said.

With that, Lawson rested her case.

Before mounting his defense, Cooley asked the court to acquit Heiman on the resisting arrest, attempted sexual assault and burglary charges. On the resisting arrest charge, Cooley said that while Heiman tried to flee from officers when they tried to place him in handcuffs, he did not intentionally try to injure anyone.

“Mr. Heiman attempted to jerk away. He went to the ground. In this case, the injury that occurred to the officer occurred while he was attempting to pull his arm out on the ice,” Cooley said. “It wasn’t directly inflicted by Mr. Heiman.”

Cooley also renewed his objections to the prosecuting attorney’s use of a 2008 conviction during which Heiman entered a Kenai home and a woman woke up to find him sitting at the foot of her bed.

“There is zero evidence in the 2008 case that there was an attempted sexual assault or that he was thwarted in a sexual assault in any way and applying it to the 2013 case is circular reasoning,” Cooley said.

Lawson disagreed, saying that the state had always theorized that Heiman meant to sexually assault the female victim in the 2013 case for which he is currently being tried.

“We have him going in with a knife, we have him cutting off the power, he knows there’s a lone, single female in there,” Lawson said. “He says to her ‘do you want it?’”

Superior Court Judge Charles Huguelet said there were too many similarities between the three cases to discount any of them.

“We have an entry in the middle of the night, uninvited. There are knives involved in all three,” Huguelet said. “There were devices to secure a person. There’s inebriation with various substances involved in the three cases. There’s nothing taken or destroyed in the entry so there’s no economic motive or revenge motive.”

Huguelet ruled that each of the four charges Heiman is currently facing should be taken to the jurors.

The defense and prosecuting attorneys will give their closing arguments beginning at 8:30 a.m. Friday at the Kenai Courthouse, 125 Trading Bay Road. Jurors will then enter deliberations.

 

Reach Rashah McChesney at rashah.mcchesney@peninsulaclarion.com or follow her on Twitter @litmuslens.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion  Alaska State Trooper Matt Ezell circles several areas on a map of Soldotna where he searched for footprints as evidence to corroborate a story of kidnapping and rape levied against Shane Heiman (right) during Heiman's trial for a separate attempted rape on Thursday, April 16, 2015 in Kenai, Alaska. The prosecution and defense rested and closing arguments will be heard Friday before the jury goes into deliberations.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Alaska State Trooper Matt Ezell circles several areas on a map of Soldotna where he searched for footprints as evidence to corroborate a story of kidnapping and rape levied against Shane Heiman (right) during Heiman’s trial for a separate attempted rape on Thursday, April 16, 2015 in Kenai, Alaska. The prosecution and defense rested and closing arguments will be heard Friday before the jury goes into deliberations.

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