A Navy forensic pathologist testified yesterday that a young woman who was attacked and left for dead at the Quantico Marine Corps base in 1983 suffered an abrasion on her neck "consistent with" a wound inflicted by a serrated knife.
The doctor's testimony came the day after the office manager of an apartment complex where Marine Cpl. Lindsey Scott lived testified that Scott had borrowed a serrated steak knife from her on April 20, 1983, the day the young woman was abducted, raped, slashed and left in the woods.
The office manager said Scott never returned the knife. Scott has said he accidentally threw the knife away after using it to clean his stove.
The prosecution rested following the testimony of Cmdr. Steven S. Sohn, the pathologist. He was the 20th government witness to testify since Scott's court-martial -- his second since 1983 -- started Jan. 25.
After the government rested its case, Scott's lawyers made a pro forma motion asking Lt. Col. Eligah D. Clark, the military judge, for a summary verdict of not guilty. Clark denied the motion.
Scott was first tried for the attack in October 1983 and found guilty on charges that he kidnaped, sodomized, raped and attempted to murder the woman, who was married to a military policeman who worked with Scott at Quantico at the time. He was sentenced to 30 years at hard labor, demoted to private and deprived of some pay.
After Scott served 45 months in prison, the nation's highest military court set aside the sentence last summer on the grounds that his former civilian attorney had failed to prepare a competent defense. In October, Quantico's commanding officer, Lt. Gen. Frank E. Petersen, ordered that a second court-martial be convened.
Scott's case has drawn the attention of civil rights groups, which contend that the Marine Corps, hurrying to resolve a serious crime, fixed on Scott as a convenient suspect. Scott is black; the woman is white.
The Marines have consistently denied any racial motivation in the investigation or prosecution of the case.
Under questioning by Scott's attorney yesterday, pathologist Sohn acknowledged that all but one of the wounds to the woman's neck could have been caused by a blade that was not serrated.
The lawyer, John F. Leino, pointed out that the knife used in the attack could have been a folding knife, a knife with a hilt, "or any serrated knife on the face of the earth."
The knife lent to Scott was not folding and did not have a hilt, according to the apartment manager's testimony. However, at various times in the course of the investigation, the woman has described the knife as folding and as having a hilt.
Sohn also said that photographs of marks on the woman's neck indicate that she had been choked. The woman testified last week that the assailant choked her before she lost consciousness. When she came to, she said, she realized that her throat had been cut.
Another of Scott's attorneys, Gary R. Myers, argued that Scott should be declared not guilty because of testimony that the woman equivocated in her identification of Scott, both from a group of photos and in a lineup. He referred to the woman as a "passive dependent personality," suggesting that she had been prodded to identify Scott by investigators.
Myers also scoffed at the woman's identification of Scott's car, where the rape allegedly occurred, suggesting that she had been coached by her husband, who worked with Scott and could have described the car to her.