Judith Stevens has waited almost 10 years to tell a jury how a stranger threatened her with a knife, drove her to a deserted, gravel-strewn lot in Arlington's Crystal City and raped her twice.
Yesterday in Arlington Circuit Court, Stevens described the May 1975 incident that she has said provoked periods of anger, intense depression and a personal crusade to bring the case to trial.
Stevens (formerly Judith Palfrey), now a marketing consultant in Pennsylvania, in 1977 became the first rape victim in Virginia to testify publicly about her experience before the State Crime Commission.
Milton N. Bullock, 34, on trial on charges of rape, sodomy and abduction with intent to defile in the incident, was indicted in August 1975.
Shortly before his scheduled trial later that year, Bullock jumped bail, secured a fake passport and fled to Great Britain, and then to Sweden, where he contended he was innocent of the charges, according to prosecutors. Bullock argued at the time that he could not expect to get a fair trial in the U.S. because he is black.
Attempts to locate and extradite him from Sweden became a complicated international effort involving Scotland Yard, the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), the Swedish government, the FBI, the State Department and former Virginia governor Mills E. Godwin, as well as Arlington police and prosecutors.
An attempt to extradite Bullock in 1978 failed. He was jailed in 1980 in Sweden on drug charges and was deported to the United States in August. Since then, he has been held in Arlington.
Yesterday in court, Bullock sat quietly, occasionally taking notes, while Stevens testified for nearly four hours about the events of May 15, 1975.
Stevens, 35, testified that she left a Georgetown bar about 2:15 a.m. with a group of friends and was driving home alone toward Alexandria on Rte. 110 when a car behind her began flashing its lights.
Assuming the driver was one of the group and was trying to signal her, she testified, she pulled her car to the shoulder, turned it off, and walked toward the other car.
Stevens then realized the driver was not her acquaintance, she said on the witness stand, but a stranger, who then threatened her with a serrated kitchen knife, entered her car, drove her to a deserted area, sodomized her and raped her twice.
Under direct examination by Arlington assistant prosecutor Helen Fahey and cross-examination by defense counsel Joe Duvall, Stevens said she faked an epileptic seizure to stop the attack.
Asked by Fahey why she had permitted the sexual acts to occur, Stevens testified that "I was in fear of bodily harm. I wasn't sure if I was going to make it away that night. . . , if I was going to live."
Duvall questioned Stevens on some discrepancies between her testimony at an August 1975 preliminary hearing and statements she made yesterday.
"Much of this case is going to turn on whether the things Stevens said . . . , whether they ring true or not," defense counsel Tom Harrigan told the jury in opening arguments. "There are many things that don't add up."
The trial case is scheduled to resume this morning.