An Arlington jury yesterday convicted a Washington law student of raping a classmate despite the woman's testimony that she had assisted her alleged assailant in the act of sexual intercourse.
An all-white jury of nine men and three women deliberated nearly eight hours before finding Pierre L. Kennedy, a 25-year-old black student at Antioch School of Law, guilty of raping the woman, who is white, at her Columbia Pike apartment.
The jury recommended that Kennedy's punishment be fixed at six year's imprisonment.
"It is an unusual case," Circuit Court Judge Charles S. Russell told lawyers at one point during the two day trial. ". . . There is some evidence that she [the woman] positively cooperated," the judge said when the jury was out of the courtroom.
"Does her assisting him to have intercourse condone the act?" Russell asked aloud from the bench. "Is it last-minute consent?"
Prosecutor Helen Fahey, who told the jury the case was one of "classic rape," argued there was no consent. Defense lawyers claimed there was abundant evidence of the woman's agreement.
The judge, however, dismissed a separate assault charg the woman had filed against Kennedy.
Russell, who set Kennedy's sentencing for Sept. 7, prevented the jury from hearing defense arguments that would have raised race as a major factor in the case.
Russell reprimanded defense attorney Joe. O. Wiggs and Gerald Lee for attempting to "create an atmosphere of racism" when they repeatedly tried to show during cross-examination that the defendant had fled because of his fear of how police in Virginia might behave towards blacks.
"You are trying to make a black-white thing out of this, and I resent it," Russell said.
Russell ordered Kennedy, a Chicago native, jailed immediately after the jury's verdict was announced. The judge said he was fearful Kennedy, who had fled to the Virgin Islands after the charges against him were lodged, would flee again.
Much of the case revolved around actions the woman took when Kennedy who was nude, confronted her in the bedroom of her Arlington apartment. The woman told the jury that Kennedy told her as they struggled on her bed that he was "going to f--- you."
Fearful of what Kennedy might do, the woman said she voluntarily undressed and assisted Kennedy in having intercourse.
Prosecutor Fahey insisted in arguments to Russell that consent was not involved. "You are putting a woman into a position of resisting until the end . . .," she said. The woman "had no choice but to have intercourse with the defendant or risk her life," Fahey said.
Defense lawyer Wings countered that "It's a perfect case of kiss-and-tell."
The incident occured on the evening of Dec. 13, 1977. The woman and Kennedy testified that they and a mutual friend, Sylvester (Blade) Sartor, had been studying for examinations in the Antioch library. After a discussion of the interracial dating climate at Antoich, the three agreed to go out to drink and dance in celebration of the woman's birthday.
According to testimony, the woman told the men she wanted to return to her apartment to change her shoes. The three then went to a liquor store on Columbia Road NW where they purchased three bottles of wine, one of which they consumed during the ride to Arlington.
"We were all three friends. No one was dating anybody. It was fine . . it was friendly," the woman testified.
Upon arriving at the apartment, the woman said she invited Kennedy and Sartor inside. She said she later called them to help her choose a dress to wear.
But shortly after making a selection, the woman closed her bedroom door and the men returned to the living room. Within a few minutes, according to testimony, Kennedy confronted her wearing no clothing and carrying a wine glass and bottle in outstretched arms.
"Happy Birthday . . . " he said.
According to the woman's testimony, she strggled and screamed intermittently for 15 minutes. At one point, Sartor, responding to a call from the bedroom, poked his head in through the door and asked, "What's going in here?" According to the woman, Kennedy "just smiled. Blade shut the door and left."