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A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Closing arguments delivered in Adam Liccardi rape trial

Pierpont Residence Hall  (Jessica Chaiken/Daily Collegian)
Pierpont Residence Hall
(Jessica Chaiken/Daily Collegian)

NORTHAMPTON — Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Jennifer Suhl asked jurors to consider the demeanors of both her client, a woman who has accused four men of raping her in her University of Massachusetts dorm room in 2012, and Adam Liccardi, who sat with his defense team a few feet behind Suhl in Hampshire Superior Court.

Suhl, who delivered her closing arguments in the nearly week-long trial Monday, asked which of the two appeared evasive and scripted in their testimonies, and asked jurors to consider whether stories and answers changed over time.

“Who is telling the truth and who is lying?” Suhl asked the 13 jurors.

Liccardi, 21, is one of four men accused of raping the alleged victim in Pierpont Hall. Two others, Emmanuel Bile, 21, and Justin King, 21, have already been convicted, while the fourth, Caleb Womack, 20, awaits trial.

Liccardi’s lawyer, Alfred Chamberland, said that the woman was raped in October 2012 by Bile, but that Liccardi engaged in consensual sex with the then 18-year-old student prior to the rape. Chamberland argued the Commonwealth’s case “doesn’t make sense,” lacked evidence and reminded the jurors that the law states his client is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty.

“Liccardi’s become collateral damage,” he said. “He’s become shrapnel in the true report of rape, which was Bile.”

Yet Suhl said Liccardi had motive to “spin” the truth.

The woman said in an emotional testimony last Friday that the four men raped her simultaneously, sometimes arguing about who would penetrate her, and in what order. She said that she could not move – she said she struggled to maintain consciousness and was heavily intoxicated that night – and the men only stopped once she started to cry loudly.

Liccardi is accused of raping her once more after the three other men left.

Chamberland called Liccardi to the stand Monday morning. Liccardi appeared comfortable in back-and-forth’s with Chamberland, and said that both himself and King engaged in consensual sex with the woman in her dorm room. Liccardi said that Bile later “barged in,” undressed himself, climbed on top of the woman and began having intercourse with her.

It became clear that it was not consensual as the woman began to cry, Liccardi said. At that point, he said, the three other men said “Dude, E-man,” in an attempt to get him to stop.

“He looked like a monster,” Liccardi said.

The Pittsfield native said he couldn’t leave the woman because she was crying, and stayed behind to “calm her down.” He said he hugged her, told her she was beautiful and that “she didn’t have to do anything she didn’t want to do.” Shortly after, he said he fell asleep.

Chamberland later asked him whether he woke up in the middle of the night and had sex with the woman. Liccardi responded, “No.”

Yet under cross-examination from Suhl, Liccardi appeared more nervous, often asking Suhl to repeat her questions. He was also told by Judge Richard Carey that he needed to audibly respond to every question instead of only shaking his head.

Suhl reminded the jurors later that day in her closing arguments.

“You can judge character for yourself, you can judge demeanor or credibility,” she said.

Suhl challenged the defense’s assertion Bile acted independently, and said the four men treated the woman “like a piece of meat.” She also said Liccardi has changed his version of the story three times since meeting with police five days after the incident.

Suhl dismissed the claim that Liccardi stayed to console the woman, saying that he stayed to stop the woman’s sobbing while his friends left the UMass campus.

“He didn’t stay because he was a savior,” she said. “He stayed to take one for the team.”

Yet Chamberland argued in his closing statements that Liccardi was never a leader within the group.

Chamberland outlined six critical points to the jurors. He said there’s no proof all four men acted together, that previous texts administered as evidence don’t prove Liccardi’s involvement, and that the statement he gave to UMass police following the incident was not voluntary (because he asked for a lawyer and was questioned without one). He also said there is both a lack of evidence – Liccardi’s DNA wasn’t found on the woman’s comforter – and inconsistency of evidence, and that the Commonwealth’s case “doesn’t make sense.”

Chamberland speculated the woman feared her campus reputation was at risk if she did not report the four men to the police. He also questioned her intoxication level throughout the night, saying her testimony proved she had no difficulty navigating herself around her dorm that night, and adding that she “either has a very enormous tolerance for alcohol, or she’s lying.”

At the end of his closing arguments, Chamberland requested the jury find his client not guilty on all four counts.

Suhl, however, said the evidence introduced throughout the trial corroborates the woman’s story, noting the combination of witness testimony, text messaging evidence and the woman’s reported vaginal and anal injuries, and her inability to give consent support that she was raped by all four men.

Suhl said the men took advantage of the woman in a “vulnerable” state.

“This was not a rape where she was able to fight off her attackers,” Suhl said.

The jury is expected to be hear final instructions Tuesday morning, and deliberations will then follow.

Mark Chiarelli can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Mark_Chiarelli.

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  • T

    Tony DennisSep 1, 2015 at 9:48 am

    nice job

  • B

    BobSep 1, 2015 at 8:20 am

    Victim should sue the person who signed in these rapists, along with her, “friends”,Karyssa Youngs and Jessica Russo, for their reckless behavior. They must be proud of having “relationships” with a convicted rapist in Bile. These two, could have better protected their friend, by not leaving her drunk, alone with four, drunk, losers, without a place to stay.