Jury selection begins Monday in second gang rape trial

By Patrick Hoff

Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy at an October 2012 press conference about the alleged gang rape. (Collegian File Photo)
Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy at an October 2012 press conference about the alleged gang rape. (Collegian File Photo)

Jury selection began Monday in the trial of Justin King, the second of four men to be tried in connection to the alleged gang rape of a University of Massachusetts student in her dorm room on Oct. 13, 2012.

King, 21, of Pittsfield, has pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated rape, denying the prosecution’s claims that he and his co-defendants repeatedly raped the woman while she was incapacitated by alcohol.

King and Caleb Womack, 20, of Windsor Locks, Connecticut, are each charged with three counts of aggravated rape. Adam Liccardi, 20, of Pittsfield, is charged with an additional count of aggravated rape because he is alleged to have raped the woman again after the others left the room.

Emmanuel Bile, 21, of Pittsfield, was convicted in March on two counts of aggravated rape, and is currently serving eight to 10 years in state prison.

Bile, King and Liccardi all claim the woman willingly participated in the sex. Womack denies ever having sex with her.

The district attorney’s office says the woman is no longer a UMass student, but she is prepared to testify at the remaining three trials, according to The Daily Hampshire Gazette. She also testified against Bile.

Hampshire Superior Court Judge Bertha D. Josephson denied a request from Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Jennifer Suhl on May 15 to join King and Liccardi’s trials. Initially the four defendants were to be tried together, but a judge ruled in March that each defendant’s statements to the police could incriminate each other, which cannot legally occur if they are tried together. Suhl argued that with King and Liccardi, this ruling did not apply because their statements to the police were so similar, but Josephson disagreed.

There are 100 potential jurors, out of which 12, plus two alternates, must be chosen. The jury selection in Bile’s trial took a day and a half.

King’s trial is expected to last at least a week.

Patrick Hoff can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Hoff_Patrick16.