Jury unable to reach verdicts in trial of man accused of attack on his neighbor
URBANA — A Champaign County judge Thursday declared a mistrial in the case of a Champaign man accused of a brutal attack on his neighbor in her home last summer.
The four men and eight women on the jury deliberated about nine hours before telling Judge Tom Difanis they couldn't reach unanimous verdicts in the case of Dominique Alexander-Smith, 22, who was charged with home invasion, armed robbery and aggravated criminal sexual assault.
The charges stemmed from his attack Aug. 25 on a 26-year-old woman in her apartment in the 2500 block of West Springfield Avenue. Alexander-Smith lived in a nearby apartment in the same complex at the time.
The woman testified that about 1:30 a.m., he broke through a sliding-glass door on her second-floor balcony, pursued her into her bedroom while armed with a knife, robbed her of a debit card, then raped her repeatedly.
The woman, who was two months pregnant at the time, sustained a swollen cheek and split lip from being hit with a fist and cuts to her hand and legs from trying to get the knife from him. She said she recognized him from living nearby but didn't let on to him that she realized who he was.
The jury saw pictures depicting the broken door, the woman's injuries, and the bent butcher knife, which was left on her bed after the attack.
They also heard that semen taken from the woman contained Alexander-Smith's DNA and saw surveillance video of him at a nearby ATM within minutes of the attack trying unsuccessfully to use a bank card.
Following his arrest later that same day, Alexander-Smith denied knowing the woman, ever being in her apartment or attacking her.
At trial — after evidence of the DNA had been revealed by the prosecution — Alexander-Smith testified that his sexual encounter with her was consensual. He said she let him in her apartment, they talked briefly and he then went to her bedroom for sex. He said afterward, she had a look of regret about her.
Assistant State's Attorney Stephanie Weber said the woman was telling the truth and that the evidence supported her testimony, while Assistant Public Defender George Vargas argued that the woman made up the story so her boyfriend wouldn't be upset with her for having sex with another man.
Vargas questioned why the knife wasn't tested for fingerprints and why the woman ran two blocks for help rather than summoning a closer neighbor. He noted she told different details to different police officers.
Weber called Alexander-Smith's testimony about consensual sex "preposterous in the face of all the physical evidence."
"The only knock on her door was him busting through the glass. The only conversation was his demand for money and her begging him not to hurt her. The only sex wasn't what you'd call sex. It was that man exhibiting power over her. There was nothing consensual about it," she said.