Ithaca Voice intern Christopher Hanna contributed to this report.
ITHACA, N.Y. — The trial of a man accused of attacking and raping a woman in Dryden last year has been adjourned until Monday due to a juror being too sick to focus on the case Friday.
Judge Joseph Cassidy said in court that he, Assistant District Attorney Diane Lama and Attorney Kenneth Moynihan met with the juror and determined that she was too ill to focus on the trial. They opted not to use an alternate juror.
Friday was slated to be the first full day of testimony in the case against Jefferey Horton, 53, who is facing 14 charges relating to alleged stalking, burglary, and rape in March last year.
Thursday afternoon, attorneys gave opening statements in the case, and the first witness — the woman accusing Horton of attacking her — took the stand.
The woman began by detailing her nearly nine month-long romantic relationship with Horton, saying that he became irate when she broke up with him in March last year.
According to the woman, she began to fear for her safety when Horton left an emotionally charged letter in her car and showed up to her workplace and home unannounced, drop-ins the defense has insinuated was commonplace during their relationship.
Horton and his friend then allegedly made a false report to the Dryden Police Department that she intended to drive while intoxicated on the night of March 24, she said.
The woman described taking measures to avoid Horton that night, fearing that the he intended to physically harm her. She exchanged cars with her friend to prevent him from following her and locked all of the doors to her home, she said.
The woman repeatedly exhorted the defendant to “leave her alone” in several text messages that were shown to the jury.
Her testimony was cut short before detailing the most severe accusations against Horton — that he attacked, restrained and raped her for around two hours before turning himself in to police.
Moynihan admitted during opening statements that a conversation between Horton and the woman escalated to physical violence March 24. But he says the rape did not happen, and that he and the woman made up after the argument and Horton turned himself in to police after noticing the bruises on the woman’s face following their dispute.
Testimony is expected to continue Monday morning.
Correction: This story initially incorrectly stated the number of charges Horton is facing.