Last Wednesday, May 15, marked 10 years since the night Judith Stevens says a stranger threatened her, drove her to a deserted lot in Crystal City, sodomized her and raped her twice.
This morning, Stevens is scheduled to tell the story of that night in an Arlington County Circuit courtroom for the second time.
Barring a last minute stay, which prosecutors and defense attorneys said yesterday was unlikely, Milton N. Bullock will go on trial there again on charges of rape, sodomy and abduction with intent to defile Stevens.
Stevens went public years ago with the story of her assault in an effort to force the extradition of her accused assailant from Sweden. But she said in an interview yesterday that the recent case of Cathleen Crowell Webb has made her all the more determined to carry her case to conclusion in the Virginia courts.
When Webb said that she had lied in court when she accused Gary Dotson of raping her eight years ago, other rape victims may have been deterred from pressing their cases, Stevens said, but the publicity reinforced her decision to testify.
Webb "made me very, very angry," Stevens said. "She's being touted as a folk hero. I don't think she's done the cause of women any good at all."
Bullock, 34, said in a separate interview in the county jail yesterday that the 10 years had not dulled his feelings about the case and his belief that a black man could not get a fair trial on charges of assaulting a white woman. "My reason for leaving in 1975 was that I didn't feel like I could get a fair trial in Virginia," he said. "I feel it more today than I did then."
Bullock fled soon after his arrest in 1975, prompting a nine-year effort, involving government and police officials in the United States and Europe, to return him to Arlington. He was deported last summer.
His first trial earlier this year ended abruptly in a mistrial when a juror approached Circuit Judge Paul D. Brown and confided he had misgivings about serving on the all-white jury in the case.
Brown and a three-judge panel of the new Virginia Intermediate Court of Appeals have since rejected motions by Bullock's attorneys to dismiss the charges or bar his retrial in Arlington on grounds of double jeopardy.
Today is the third scheduled trial for Bullock. He was to be tried Nov. 13, 1975 when, according to court records, he "was thrice solemnly called and came not." Bullock went to Great Britain and, later, to Sweden.
Bullock, the eldest of four children, said the incident has strained relations with his mother, brother and sisters as well as with his wife and two young daughters, who remain in Sweden. " . . . I have lost everything twice already." -- Accused rapist Milton N. Bullock
"I have lost a lot. I have lost everything twice already," he said. "I don't think there's anything more they can take from me."
Assistant Arlington prosecutor Helen Fahey swamped with phone calls and paper work yesterday as she prepared for this morning's proceedings, said the case has meant "10 years worth of anxiety" for everyone involved.
She said the unexpected end to the January trial probably would not affect how she will question potential jurors today. "You have to be very careful how you question jurors. It's a very hard thing to figure out how to ask and get an honest response."
Defense attorney Thomas J. Harrigan, who said he believes the issue of double jeopardy has not been adequately ruled on, agreed that questioning jurors is a touchy issue. "All you can do is try to shake their consciences," he said.