The parents of Timothy Joseph Buzbee, in an all-out effort to prove their son's innocence, yesterday invited reporters and photographers to troop through their Montgomery County home to inspect evidence that played a key role in Buzbee's conviction last week for one of the Aspen Hill rapes.
The parents apparently were seeking to buttress the contention of their son's attorney that the conviction was based on "inadequate and inaccurate testimony" that tied the Buzbee family home and Timothy Buzbee's car to the crime.
Making that same argument, Reginald W. Bours III, Buzbee's attorney, yesterday asked the trial judge to throw out the conviction or grant Buzbee a new trial.
"We absolutely believe in his innocence," said William Buzbee Sr., a reticent man who appeared pained by his decision to have a horde of reporters walk through his home. "We are willing to go to any lengths to prove his innocence."
Using details provided by the rape victim, who was able to peek from under a blindfold during her abduction and rape, the Montgomery County prosecutor wove a case that convinced the jury that Buzbee had broken into the girl's home, driven her to his parents' empty house and raped her.
The description of the house and vehicle given on the witness stand by the victim and other prosecution witnesses "does not match this house and this car," said Bours as he stood on the Buzbee lawn in the upper-middle income Flower Valley subdivision.
The elder Buzbee stayed inside, away from the cameras, as Bours led the reporters and cameramen on a tour of the house, its backyard and the 1981 Toyota Tercel parked in the driveway, attacking details of the prosecution's case. (The victim's description of the car interior appeared to match that of the Toyota, but she said it was dark with automatic transmission and the one there yesterday was silver with a stick shift.)
"This is the tile described by two witnesses as blue," said Bours as he pointed to the black slate tiles that covered the home's foyer. "It has no blue coloration at all." Similar details were pointed out as he climbed the stairs and reporters then crammed into the bedroom where the victim said she had been raped.
Bours also walked reporters from the grounds of the Flower Valley Elementary School, which backs up to the Buzbee backyard, to the Buzbee home, the route the prosecution maintained the defendant was taken the night of the rape. The victim described being taken a short distance, stepping over "three hard white surfaces," and said nothing about obstructions in her path. Bours said "there is no way" that is consistent with the long walk from the school property and through the thick shrubbery that divides it from the Buzbee yard.
State's Attorney Andrew Sonner yesterday acknowledged discrepancies but said "we had a jury trial in which all those questions were presented. They were all considered by the jury and resolved . . . . We're satisfied."
In his closing argument to the jury, prosecutor Barry Hamilton also acknowledged "discrepancies" in the victim's testimony, but asked the jury to "concentrate on how amazing it was she could tell you as much as she could."
As the victim testified, the Buzbee house has green carpeted stairs, and a storm door that has a valve near the floor to slow its closing. But Bours noted that the door is brown, not silver or white, as the victim recalled it.
Bours said he was not attacking the victim's testimony, but attempting to show that "based on her recollections . . . this house and this car don't fit."
In his motion asking Circuit Court Judge John J. Mitchell for a new trial, Bours also argued that the victim's identification of Buzbee's voice in a telephone voice lineup police conducted 15 months after the crime was a legally insufficient form of identification.