Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass rape trial halts abruptly, opening statements delivered Tuesday

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(Collegian File Photo)

(Collegian File Photo)

NORTHAMPTON – The trial of Adam Liccardi, who is charged with four counts of raping a University of Massachusetts student in her dorm room in 2012, was halted abruptly Tuesday afternoon due to an apparent medical emergency.

Court was scheduled to resume at 2 p.m. following a lunch recess, but Liccardi was heard complaining of anxiety and appeared to have difficulty breathing before leaving the courtroom for nearly an hour. Following two different sidebars with judge Richard Carey, the defendant’s lawyer, Alfred P. Chamberland, gave Liccardi and his family directions to Cooley Dickinson Hospital and told them to leave immediately.

The judge then called the 14-person jury into the room and told them the court would adjourn for the day due to reasons “outside the court’s control.” The trial is scheduled to resume Wednesday at 9 a.m.

Calls to Chamberland’s office seeking further comment were not returned.

Liccardi, 21, is the third of four to stand trial in connection to the alleged gang-rape in Pierpoint Dormitory. Emmanuel Bile, 21, Justin King, 21 and Caleb Womack, 20, were all charged with three counts of rape in the alleged attack. Bile and King have both been convicted.

Liccardi faces an additional count of rape after allegedly returning to the woman’s room later in the night and raping her again, after the other three men left.

In Tuesday morning’s opening statements, two different accounts of what occurred in October 2012 were presented to the jury.

Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Jennifer Suhl said the four men, none of which were UMass students, traveled to Amherst despite being told by the woman not to visit. Suhl said the men left the woman, who was intoxicated to the point where she could not stand, speak or even sit up, alone in her dorm room bleeding and unconscious.

“They raped her in every orifice of her body, and did it over, over and over again,” Suhl told a jury consisting of 10 men and four women.

Chamberland concurred with the Commonwealth, saying he also believed the woman was raped that night. But he said it wasn’t by Liccardi.

“She was raped by Emmanuel Bile,” Chamberland said of the Pittsfield native, who is serving an 8-to-10 year sentence.

Chamberland questioned the woman’s level of intoxication and said that she engaged in consensual sex with King first, saying she was “into it,” and then Liccardi “for about a minute.” Only when Bile later entered the room and attempt to engage in aggressive sex acts did the woman, and the three other men, try to put an end to it, according to the defense.

Chamberland also attempted to separate Liccardi from the other three men, saying Liccardi spent most of the night sitting alone and rarely speaking. When the other three men left for the night, Chamberland said Liccardi couldn’t stand to leave the woman there and tried to comfort her.

“They held each other, laid down and fell asleep,” said Chamberland, who said Liccardi then left hours later upon waking up.

He also told the jury it would see evidence the woman was capable of consenting to sex.

Yet the first prosecution witness, Karyssa Youngs, 21, painted a different picture when questioned by Suhl.

Youngs, who lived on the same floor as the woman and said they were friends, said she saw the woman drinking alcohol throughout the night and that the woman exhibited signs of increased intoxication at a quad party on their floor.

Later that night, Youngs and Jessica Russo, her roommate, and Tuesday’s second witness, left the party and returned to their room to get ready for bed, only to hear a knock on the door shortly after. It was Bile and Womack, who showed up unannounced, according to both Youngs and Russo. Youngs said Bile needed a place to charge his phone, and she obliged.

All four later went to the woman’s room and encountered King and Liccardi, who were already in the room. Young said the woman was “slumped over” on her bed as King had his arm around her, while Liccardi sat at a desk.

Youngs said that after about an hour, she determined it was time for everyone to leave, and said the woman was asleep on her bed.

“It was traumatic when I found out what happened,” Youngs said later.

Chamberland countered, questioning Youngs’ complete memory of the event, as well inconsistencies with what she told police in the initial police report. Youngs said she was never asked to give a full statement.

The morning session ended with Russo still on the stand. Russo said she encountered the woman, who she said was crying and had bruises on her arms, the following morning in the hallway.

Russo said the woman told her, “they all gang-banged me last night.”

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

1 Comment

One Response to “UMass rape trial halts abruptly, opening statements delivered Tuesday”

  1. Bob on August 25th, 2015 10:07 pm

    With a friend like Karyssa Youngs, you don’t need any enemies. Her and Russo should be ashamed of their careless behavior and poor choice of male companions.

    [Reply]

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