A Montgomery County police detective testified yesterday that Timothy Joseph Buzbee, on trial for the 1981 rape of a 15-year-old girl, has a "very, very distinctive voice," as the prosecution worked to bolster its assertion that the victim made a voice identification of Buzbee.
"There was some type of speech or quality of speech pattern about Buzbee's voice ," detective James Beasley testified. "I can't put it into words, but it was very unique."
The Montgomery County Circuit Court jury heard a 30-minute tape recording of a so-called voice lineup conducted last Nov. 1, after Buzbee became a suspect in a series of rapes that had occurred in the Aspen Hill area.
At the time, Buzbee, 25, was employed as a land surveyor working for Almar Associates in Gaithersburg, a company owned by his father.
While the victim, whose case is now being heard, listened on an extension telephone, Beasley placed 10 calls to surveying firms while posing as a property owner seeking a survey of a lot.
On the eighth call on the recording, a woman's voice answered, "Almar Associates," and told the caller after a few preliminary comments, "I'll let you talk to Timmy."
A male voice then took the call and said, "My name is Tim."
Earlier this week, the teen-aged victim testified that she was able to identify one of the voices as her attacker's. She said she told detectives at that time that she was "pretty sure" the man she heard on the phone was the one who broke into her home, abducted her and raped her two years ago.
Prosecutors have said that it was Buzbee's voice that the victim identified.
Buzbee was arrested four days after the voice lineup and was charged with kidnaping and rape stemming from the 1981 incident.
He was later indicted on charges related to several other rapes. Buzbee has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.
In this, the first of the Aspen Hill rape trials, the victim, who was blindfolded during the abduction, told the jury that she listened intently to her attacker's voice.
It was "average except for a speech impediment" that was unlike anything she had heard before, she testified.
The prosecution yesterday also called Sandra Weikel, the secretary at Almar Associates, to testify. She told jurors that she had turned the Nov. 1 telephone call in question over to Buzbee.
Weikel described Buzbee's voice as "kind of unclear when you first hear him talk." But when asked by Assistant State's Attorney Barry Hamilton if there was anything else "distinctive" about Buzbee's voice, she replied, "no."
Even though the defense has not begun its part of the trial, defense attorney Reginald W. Bours III was permitted to call Buzbee's older brother, William Buzbee Jr., to testify yesterday because the brother was going to be out of town next week.
Asked about the defendant's voice, the brother said, "I don't see anything" distinctive about it. He added, "I've sometimes been mistaken on the phone for him."
The prosecution is expected to complete presentation of its case Monday, and the defense will begin its case after that.