The 32-year-old Silver Spring mother was changing her daughter's diaper in April when she heard the rumbling noise of a garbage truck. She said she ran downstairs and handed two plastic bags of refuse to the trash collector.
The next 20 minutes were terrifying for the woman and her 2-year-old daughter, she testified yesterday at the Montgomery County Circuit Court trial of Felton R. Shaw, a former sanitation worker charged with attempted rape and robbery.
"I knew I had to fight," said the woman. "I was really scared . . . . I was exhausted. I was really shaking."
During an hour of testimony yesterday, the victim described the April 6 incident at her home on Ashford Road near Montgomery Blair High School. The woman, who identified Shaw in the courtroom as her assailant, said Shaw forced his way into her two-story brick house and demanded sex.
While her daughter cried and yelled, the woman said she struggled with Shaw, 25, who dragged her from room to room, eventually dislocating her jaw.
"I knew I didn't want to go up those stairs," the woman said. The victim, sobbing at times, testified that she finally was able to escape from Shaw by offering him money. "I told him, I have $150 in my purse. Please take the money."
The victim said Shaw ran away after taking the money. A short while after the attack, the woman, accompanied by police officers, said she identified Shaw as her assailant from a crew of trash collectors working a few blocks from her house.
At the time of his arrest, Shaw was employed by L&J Trucking Co., a Clinton trash collection firm that contracted with the county to pick up refuse in specific neighborhoods.
Assistant Public Defender Allen Wolf said in his opening statement yesterday that the jury should "remember what's important is what did not happen" during the alleged assault. "The defendant did not rape the victim," Wolf said. "The defendant did not threaten her. He did not use a weapon."
But the victim said she feared for her life and her child's life during the assault. "I was afraid that he was going to rape me, and two, that he would kill me. He was strangling me, I couldn't breathe."
During the attack, the woman said she tried to scream and bang on the front window in hopes a neighbor would notice or hear her. But the victim said Shaw pinned her arms behind her and put his hands in her mouth to silence her.
At one point, the woman said, Shaw began choking her while she was lying face down on the floor. The victim said her daughter "began hitting at him and screaming at him."
If convicted, Shaw could be sentenced to life in prison on the attempted rape charge, said prosecutor Robert Dean.