Trembling and tearful, a 27-year-old woman pointed her finger across a courtroom yesterday at Cpl. Lindsey Scott, identifying him as the man who raped her, forced her to commit sodomy and slashed her with a knife in a 1983 attack at Quantico Marine Corps Base.
Scott, 32, shook his head as if to deny the accusation as the woman broke down in the witness chair. The judge called for a recess and the woman was led, sobbing, from the courtroom.
It was the only time during the day that she had looked directly at Scott, who sat no more than 10 feet away.
Earlier, she described in a faint voice being tricked into accepting a ride from a man she did not recognize and being driven to a remote, wooded spot where she was assaulted. At intervals, she said, she pleaded for her life.
"I was disgusted," she said, weeping and dabbing her face with a tissue, "but I knew that if I didn't do exactly what he told me to do that he would hurt me, that he had a knife and was stronger than me. I was afraid for my life."
The victim testified that after she was raped in the front seat of the assailant's car, he led her down a slope into the woods, where he made her lie on her back, crouched over her and strangled her. She said she felt herself losing air and fighting for consciousness.
"When I opened my eyes," she said, "he was standing over me; he had the knife in his hand and was slowly waving it back and forth. I heard him laugh -- kind of a low, kind of a cynical laugh."
Scott, who has repeatedly denied that he attacked the woman, is facing his second court-martial in less than four years on the rape and attempted murder charges. His original conviction and sentence to 30 years at hard labor were set aside last summer by a military appeals court.
The woman, now a Rochester, N.Y., resident, was the wife of a military policeman who worked with Scott at Quantico when the assault took place. She lived in the same apartment complex as Scott, not far from the Quantico base, about 35 miles south of Washington.
Scott's 1983 conviction was based in part on the woman's identification of him in court. However, the chief military investigator who was in charge of the case testified Tuesday that the victim said she did not "get a good enough look" at the attacker during the incident to identify him positively from a group of photographs or a lineup.
Yesterday, the woman testified that she was "99 percent sure" that she had identified the right man when she picked Scott out of a lineup of six men who generally resembled Scott -- blacks of medium build and height, dressed in military garb, and wearing military horn-rim glasses.
She also had pointed out another man whose hair was somewhat longer than Scott's on the day of the lineup. The other man's hair, she said, was similar to her assailant's. Earlier in the day, Scott's former boss testified that Scott had reported to work the day of the lineup sporting an "extreme haircut," so short it revealed his scalp.
Defense attorneys have stressed that despite the woman's statements that she got a good look at the assailant, she never remarked upon Scott's prominent gold front tooth.
The chief government prosecutor, Marine Maj. Ron McNeil, emphasized that the woman picked out Scott's car in a parking lot and identified it as the one she was in when she was raped.
The woman testified that she had described the round gasoline gauge, the padded steering wheel, the pull-down ashtray, the bench seats, the color of the interior and an object dangling from the rear-view mirror to investigators. Those details were consistent with Scott's car.
In addition, she testified that her assailant had reached into the back of the car at one point while they were driving, and there she noticed a large metallic bucket or pot filled with items that clanked against it. Investigators seized such a pot from Scott's apartment after the incident.
Prosecutors emphasized that the assailant must have known the victim's husband, as Scott did. Twice during the sexual assault, the woman testified, the attacker named her husband and asked if she had performed the same acts with him.
The woman testified that she was just about to sit down to dinner, around 8:10 p.m., when the phone rang. She answered it twice and heard no one on the other end of the line. The third time, she said, a man who sounded educated and used military terms told her that her husband had been involved in an accident and was at the hospital. The woman said she had "no doubt that he was a military man."
She testified that the man said he was from the criminal investigations division, Scott's unit. When she asked for a ride to the hospital, she said, the man hesitated a few seconds, then said all right. He told her to wait in the parking lot downstairs near her car.
She said the man never asked where she lived or what her car looked like. Shortly after she got to the parking lot, she noticed a man in a car, who said he was from the criminal investigations unit. She got in the car.
Instead of driving to the hospital, the man drove her to an isolated spot where she said the attack took place. The scene of the crime was not found, nor was the knife used in the attack.