The chief military investigator in the 1983 rape and attempted murder case of Quantico Marine Cpl. Lindsey Scott testified yesterday that the victim told him five days after the assault that she "didn't get a good enough look" at her assailant to identify him positively.
Special Agent James F. Lindner of the Naval Investigative Service said yesterday at Scott's second court-martial that when the woman reviewed photographs and a lineup, she identified Scott and two other men who she said resembled the man who attacked her.
Despite her initial doubts, she stood up during the first court-martial, pointed at Scott and said, "This is the man right here."
The woman, who may testify today, was forced to commit sodomy and was raped, strangled and slashed in the throat with a knife in an isolated spot on the Quantico Marine Corps base on the evening of April 20, 1983.
On April 25, 1983, the woman was asked to identify her attacker from a lineup of six men, including Scott, who were dressed in military outfits and wore Marine-issued horn-rim glasses like Scott's.
Pointing to Scott, she said that he "scares me the most" but added that the man next to Scott also resembled the assailant, Lindner said. Lindner said he then ended the session, whereupon the woman said: "I'm sorry, I just can't be sure. I just didn't get a good enough look at him." Lindner said her tone was "apologetic."
Later yesterday, defense attorney John F. Leino referred to the woman's statement and asked the military investigator, "Is that your standard for a positive ID in a rape case?"
"No, sir," responded Lindner, who is now assigned to the Naval Investigative Service office in London.
Scott was convicted in an October 1983 court-martial and sentenced to 30 years' hard labor, but the verdict was set aside last summer by a military appeals court that said that his former attorney had failed to prepare an adequate defense. Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen, commanding officer at Quantico, decided last fall to convene a second court-martial.
Under direct examination by government counsel Steve Hinkle, Lindner testified yesterday that he singled out Scott, who worked with the victim's husband as a military policeman at Quantico, almost immediately after the woman was attacked.
The woman has said she was called at home by a man who said he was from the criminal investigations division, Scott's unit. The caller said her husband had been in accident and offered to take her to see him. When a man picked her up at her apartment complex, however, he took her to a remote, wooded spot where he attacked her, according to the woman's previous testimony.
Lindner said he started to suspect Scott based on the woman's statements just after the attack, when he concluded that the assailant must have known the victim and her husband as well as where they lived. Scott lived in the same apartment complex as the couple, not far from the Marine base.
Also, Lindner said that the woman's detailed description of the interior of the attacker's car closely matched Scott's car.
Further, the investigator said, the composite portrait of the assailant's face, put together from the victim's description, generally resembled Scott. When the composite portrait was prepared, he said, "tears welled up in her eyes . . . her lips began to quiver a little bit and she said, 'That's him.' "
Under cross-examination, however, Lindner conceded that the composite portrait "generally" resembled not only Scott but also the other men in the lineup, and he agreed that members of one race frequently have trouble distinguishing members of another. The victim is white and Scott is black.
Leino, Scott's attorney, said that Lindner had focused on Scott without considering that the evidence in the case could have pointed to many other Marines at Quantico.
Leino further emphasized -- and Lindner acknowledged -- the absence of physical evidence such as hairs, fibers or body fluids linking Scott to the victim. The one Negroid hair found on the woman's clothing did not match Scott's, Lindner testified.
Said Leino: "Pretty lousy forensics, isn't that a fair statement, in a serious case?"
"Yes, sir," came the reponse.
Leino, citing the fact that the woman wore several layers of clothing that would have shed fibers, asked Lindner if he could explain why no fibers were found in Scott's car, where the rape was alleged to have taken place. He could not.
Lindner later suggested that the fibers from the woman's clothing could have been eliminated if Scott had vacuumed his car, but Lindner noted that there is no evidence that Scott had done so.