A 15-year-old rape victim failed to identify Timothy Joseph Buzbee as her attacker in a police line-up last November, according to a videotape shown yesterday to the Montgomery County Circuit Court jury hearing Buzbee's trial on rape and kidnaping charges.
As the defense opened its part of the case, it presented a videotape of the lineup held hours after Buzbee was arrested as a suspect in a series of rapes in the Aspen Hill area. Six men, all similar to Buzbee, were viewed by the victim.
When asked if she recognized any of them, the victim first said, "I'm not sure." Then, asked for her "impressions," she responded, "Number six. I'm not sure. . . I can't make a positive identification. I don't like the looks of number six." Buzbee was number four in the line-up. All the other men were police officers.
In this, the first of the Aspen Hill rape trials, Buzbee, a 25-year-old land surveyor, is accused of breaking into the home of the teen-aged girl, driving her to another house and raping her. The girl, who has said she was blindfolded for all but a few seconds, has testified that at one point she saw her attacker's face, but "I couldn't tell you what it looked like." She has, however, testified that the man had brown, wavy hair, was of average build and was a "little bit shorter than my Dad, who's five-eight or five-nine."
In winding up its case, the prosecution called the two Montgomery County police detectives who investigated the Aspen Hill cases and were with Buzbee during the first hours after his arrest last Nov. 5.
Detective David Hutchison testified that shortly after he was brought to the State's Attorney Office that night, Buzbee asked to call his wife. Buzbee had been told he was under arrest for rape, but had not been given any other details, Hutchison testified. Detective James Beasley testified that the words "Aspen Hill" had not been mentioned to Buzbee at that time.
According to Hutchison, Buzbee called home and then said into the telephone, "Listen, honey, I've got something very, very important to tell you. Police have arrested me for the Aspen Hill rapes."
Under cross-examination by defense attorney Reginald W. Bours III, both detectives acknowledged that suspects are generally taken to police headquarters after arrest, but that Buzbee had been told he was being taken to the prosecutor's office to avoid the press.
As the prosecution wound up its case yesterday, Assistant State's Attorney Barry Hamilton asked that the defendant be directed to speak for the jury. According to previous testimony, the victim has been able to identify her attacker's voice. So far, the defendant has not been on the witness stand, and jurors have had no opportunity to hear him.
Judge John N. Mitchell asked Buzbee to rise and state his name. Buzbee stood, hands clasped behind his back, and said, "My name is Timothy Joseph Buzbee." In response to another request by the judge, Buzbee stated the address of his home in Frederick, Md.
During her testimony, the victim said she had listened intently to her attacker's voice, which had a "speech impediment" unlike anything she had heard before. She testified that last year she was able to identify that voice by listening to a series of telephone conversations conducted by police with several men. The voice she identified was Buzbee's, according to testimony yesterday by detectives Beasley and Hutchison.