A woman testifying yesterday in a rape trial in Arlington Circuit Court said she may have saved herself from a more horrible assault by feigning an epileptic seizure, a lesson she said she learned at age 13.
"He asked me why I was shaking," testified the woman, who was sexually assaulted but not raped. ". . . I was hoping he would really get scared and leave. He said I couldn't have a heart attack. He didn't want a murder charge."
The woman appeared in the case against Leroy Allen Lovelace, 39, an electrician charged with 15 felonies, including three counts of rape, one of sexual assault, three counts of abduction, four counts of robbery and four counts of breaking and entering.
Lovelace has pleaded not guilty. His attorney, John C. Youngs, said Monday that Lovelace was at home, at work or on his way to a recreational center when the rapes took place.
Lovelace is expected to testify, and faces the possibility of multiple life sentences if convicted.
Unlike the three young professional women who testified in the case Monday, the fourth and final victim was sexually assaulted but not raped.
The woman, a law student in her twenties, explained yesterday that she feigned an epileptic seizure during a four-hour ordeal last July that included being held at knifepoint with her head in a pillow case.
Outside the courtroom, the woman said she remembered the tactic of pretending to suffer a seizure from a rape prevention course she took when she was 13. She also learned "to show him that I cared -- pretended to care," she said.
In her testimony, she said she had given her assailant the telephone number of a drug treatment center after he told her he was on drugs.
The prosecutor's case is based largely on circumstantial evidence, in part because the assailant of each of the four women wore a bandanna or ski mask to conceal his identity.
Yesterday the fourth victim gave a detailed description of her assailant's clothing. She described everything from the frayed edges of the eyehole slits in a blue bandanna to the name label on the heel of his running shoes.
After her description, a mannequin was brought into the courtroom fitted in clothing that matched her testimony. The clothes were seized from Lovelace's residence and pickup truck, police testified.
At one point during the ordeal her assailant said he wanted to have sex with her. "I told him I didn't want him, that that was meant for warm caring, not this kind of thing," she said.
The woman said she escaped by removing the fan from her bedroom window, crawling through the opening and jumping six feet to the ground.
A forensic expert testified yesterday that semen, saliva and blood tests from Lovelace and the rape victims were inconclusive.