Clamor grows for fmr college student’s 12-year conviction by all-white jury over disputed rape to be probed

Michael Eli Dokosi Jun 9, 2020 at 02:30pm

June 09, 2020 at 02:30 pm | Opinions & Features

Michael Eli Dokosi

Michael Eli Dokosi | Staff Writer

June 09, 2020 at 02:30 pm | Opinions & Features

A distraught Albert Wilson being instructed by police officers in court via Lawrence Journal-World

There is growing call for the alleged rape case involving Albert Wilson to be re-opened for the facts to be weighed on their own merits. To those ends a website has been created to push his case and solicit signatures.

On September 10, 2016, 20-year old Wilson in the company of a friend entered “The Hawk” bar during the Family Day Weekend in Lawrence, KS. Although advertised as a 21 and older bar, the bar is known to allow entry of underage kids using fake IDs.

The white accuser also a minor (17-year-old at the time) and her cousin were captured by security cameras also gaining entry to the bar. The accuser and her cousin met the former University of Kansas student Wilson and his friend. After chitchatting, the accuser pulled his arm as they head into the dance room also known as the Boom Boom Room, but Wilson hesitated in order to ensure his friend was coming in as well — this was seen on video and heard during testimony presented to the court.

Once on the dark crowded dance floor, the pair kissed. Wilson then a full-time KU student lived near campus. Surveillance cameras show him and the accused holding hands and headed for his residence for sex. According to Wilson, they were in his room for about five minutes where the girl came upstairs, laid on his bed as they continued kissing but didn’t remove her clothes nor had sex with her. He added he got a ‘where you at’ text and missed call from his friend at the bar so decided to find out what he wanted, adding the girl gave him ‘mad’ look but they returned to the bar.

In October 2016, however, the 17-year-old white girl reported to the Lawrence Police that Wilson whom she had met at a bar had raped her. She had claimed she was drunk when the man isolated her from her friend, walked her to a nearby home, raped her, then walked her back to the bar.

On November 18, 2016, police found Wilson at home and took him to the police station for questioning. On October 11, 2017, Wilson was charged in Douglas County District Court with one count of rape, a felony.

On November 22nd, Wilson was in court represented by his attorney Forest Lowry as his accuser gave her version of events. Wilson pleaded not guilty. Judge Sally Pokorny scheduled a jury trial for April 2017 trial.

In early 2018, the district attorney’s office hired psychologist Spiridigliozzi who diagnosed the accuser with post-traumatic stress disorder more than a year after the supposed incident, claiming she had withdrawn from her friends despite her phone records proving she had a lively social life.

Jury selection was done on January 7, 2019 made up of nine women, three men plus one female alternate, according to the Lawrence Journal. The following day, the accuser reiterated claims she was drunk and that Wilson forced himself on her.

As seen in Lawrence Journal
via Lawrence Journal

On January 9, Wilson took the stand submitting he believed the girl is mad at him for not having sex with her stressing she was not drunk. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation testified that no seminal or DNA evidence from Wilson was found on the accused’s clothing and on a vagina swab. Wilson’s DNA was only found on the girl’s chest where he admitted kissing her. Swabs were collected from the girl after she went to a local hospital the day after the incident.

After six hours of deliberation on January 10, the all-white jury sentenced Wilson to 12 years in prison for rape for which he would carry a mandatory sex offender title for the events that transpired in September 2016, despite DNA proving he had no sex with the white accusing girl.

Wilson was a former Wichita Southeast High School football player and an associate degree holder who had no criminal record but it didn’t matter. He was right on point when he told Judge Sally Pokorny:

“I don’t know how to explain this, but I come from a different background than you, ma’am, …I just felt like the police [were] against me at that point.”

There are calls Forrest Lowry, the public defender for Wilson didn’t fight his case tenaciously. Michael Whalen, a Wichita-based appellate attorney now representing Wilson observed Lowry never filed any pretrial motions, nor objected to Spiridigliozzi’s testimony during trial, despite the psychologist speculating at times and stating allegations as facts at others. The rape kit found no pubic hair or other bodily secretions; yet, Whalen wrote, Lowry didn’t consult a DNA expert who could have testified that the evidence did not support the elements of rape.

Wilson had originally been charged with two counts of rape, but the jury relied on one of them. It was “not a case of overwhelming evidence,” Whalen wrote, adding Lowry ought to have requested to recall the jury.

Wilson who is held at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility, according to the Kansas Department of Corrections records, has the earliest possible release date at May 1, 2029.

This case is eerily similar in states which followed Jim Crow laws for decades. The history shows that too often white women were weaponized in accusing black males for rape without a shred of evidence leading to the lynching of such men and the destruction of black neighborhoods by white mobs only for the supposed white female victims to recant their story decades later when much harm had already been done.

The woman who claimed Emmett Till flirted and held her confessed 60 years later that the poor lad just bought a sweet at her shop.

George Smith also known as Joe Coe was a family man with a wife and two children. When he was accused of raping and killing 5-year-old Lizzie Yeates, it led to his lynching. The newspapers which stoked the fires, after his death announced reports of the girl’s rape and death were exaggerated, as the girl lived. Years later, she would confess she’d never been raped at all.

Smith had 16 wounds to his body and three vertebrae broken in his spine yet the coroner who examined him claimed he died from fright but not his wounds, all too familiar with the George Floyd state autopsy despite being kneed to death by the Minneapolis police.

On September 25, 1919, 19-year-old Agnes Loebeck accused Will Brown of rape in Omaha. Despite Loebeck failing to identify Brown, he was arrested, shot hundreds of times, body hanged and burned before some 15,000 whites leading to the conveniently labeled the 1919 Bloody Summerrace riots.

Then there’s the Beaumont Riot of 1943 also ignited when rumours spread that a Black male had raped a white woman. 4,000 white thugs broke into stores in the black section of downtown Beaumont leaving more 100 homes ransacked.

Justice must be served in the Albert Wilson rape case. It cannot be business as usual and another black life must not be wasted on the whim of a white girl.

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