ITHACA, N.Y. — A woman who is accusing Jeffrey Horton of attacking and raping her said she thought she was going to die the night he broke into her Dryden home last year.
She said in court Monday, “I thought, ‘Oh, my God. I’m going to die here. I can’t breathe.’ I prayed for my kids for a moment. I thought, ‘Oh, my God. This is it. He’s going to kill me.’”
During the often tearful testimony that lasted hours, the woman, under the questioning of Assistant District Attorney Diane Lama, described in graphic detail the night she said Horton broke into her home.
The woman said that after going to bed the night of March 24, 2015, she was awoken by the sound of her dog barking a single time. After listening closely, she started falling back asleep when Horton flipped on the light switch to her bedroom.
The two had been in a relationship together, which she’d recently ended.
While the two had broken up and rekindled their relationship in the past she said she made it clear that night that he was not welcome in her home and told him to leave.
“I was just, like, totally petrified,” she said about seeing him in her bedroom.
It’s then that he restrained and attacked her for more than two hours.
“It was absolutely painful and I was screaming and yelling…and I just thought, ‘Oh, my God. What is happening to me?’”
At one point, her dog was barking furiously and Horton allegedly demanded that she shoo the dog from the room or he’d kill it in front of her.
After some time, she said Horton contemplated aloud how the incident would end and suggested killing himself or fleeing the state. Instead, he told her he’d turn himself in to police.
Horton then drove to the New York State Police barracks in Freeville and admitted to hitting the woman.
During cross-examination from defense attorney Ken Moynihan, the woman later said she had more than five opportunities to report the rape but did not do so.
When asked by Lama why she chose no to immediately report the rape, the woman said, “I just couldn’t believe that he did that to me. I was in shock and ashamed. How could that have happened? Why didn’t I fight harder?Why did I allow that to happen?”
Moynihan’s questioning often revolved around several of the woman’s past misdemeanor convictions, her drinking habits and her tumultuous eight-month relationship with Horton.
He did not question her directly about the rape accusation.
A doctor who examined the woman, the woman’s friend and several New York State Troopers also took the stand Monday. Among several statements made verifying that Horton turned himself in was one in particular where Horton allegedly made an admission to at least attacking the woman.
“I sat on her chest for 20 minutes while I thought about what to do,” Horton reportedly told a male trooper.
Horton is facing charges on 10 felonies and six misdemeanors that include: third-degree menacing, fourth-and-third-degree stalking, second-degree unlawful imprisonment, third-and-second-degree assault, first-degree sexual abuse, third-degree aggravated sexual abuse (2 counts), first-degree criminal sex act, first-degree rape, second-degree burglary as a sexual motivated felony, second-degree burglary, first-degree burglary as a sexually motivated felony and first-degree burglary.
The trial is expected to continue at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday at the Tompkins County Courthouse.
Correction: This story initially incorrectly reported the number of charges Horton faces.