ITHACA, N.Y. — A man charged with raping a woman at Lot 10 in 2015 took the stand Wednesday morning to testify in his own defense, saying he had consensual sex with the woman at the nightclub.
Jonathan “Scar” Smith, 30, is charged with felony first-degree rape and first-degree sex abuse for a crime that is reported to have happened on June 6, 2015.
The woman took the stand Tuesday saying she went into the men’s bathroom with Smith, who she said she did not know, to do cocaine.
The woman said Smith began removing her clothing and she said, “I don’t want to do this. You don’t want to do this.”
She said he then proceeded to rape her for several minutes before they were interrupted by someone who came into the bathroom and asked what was going on in the stall.
“I couldn’t believe what was happening. I was terrified. I was shocked. I was angry,” she said.
The next day, her friend helped her report the incident to police and they went to Cayuga Medical Center, where a rape kit was gathered. DNA collected later confirmed that the woman and Smith had sexual intercourse.
Deputy District Attorney Andrew Bonavia said during closing statements Wednesday that regardless of why the two people went into the bathroom stall together, the woman did not deserve to be violated.
“It was a girl’s night out. She wanted to have a good time,” he said. “That is a lifestyle choice that she made and, regardless of what that was, that does not mean that she has lost her right to say no … it does not mean that she can’t say, ‘No, we’re not having sex.”’
He reminded jurors that the woman testified to pleading with Smith to stop, didn’t leave out intimate details, and had bruises on her upper arms from the encounter.
Bonavia asked jurors to consider the credibility of the woman in comparison to Smith. He said the woman told jurors the truth throughout her testimony and it’s the same narrative she’s had since the crime happened.
He asked, “Why would she ever make this experience up?”
In contrast, Bonavia pointed out inconsistencies in Smith’s testimony and times when the defendant lied throughout the investigation.
For instance, he cited a video played for jurors of Smith’s interview with Ithaca Police Department Investigator Christine Barksdale. During their conversation, Smith denies knowing the woman.
Bonavia also reminded jurors that when Smith was testifying about his background, he didn’t mention that he was convicted of a felony for having an illegal handgun or that he cheated on his longtime girlfriend, now his wife, multiple times throughout their relationship.
“On June 6, 2015, when (Redacted) was in that stall, she couldn’t defend herself. That’s your job,” he said, asking jurors to find Smith guilty on all charges.
Smith, however, gave jurors a different account of what happened when he testified as the only witness for the defense.
He said he and the woman weren’t complete strangers. They had several mutual friends and had seen each other around. So when she asked him for cocaine at Lot 10, it didn’t seem unusual because their mutual friends would likely know that he sometimes had the drug.
“At that time of my life, I was using cocaine,” he said. “It was a casual thing to do. It wasn’t a frowned upon thing to do.”
He said he and the woman went into the bathroom stall together and did cocaine off of his phone. He then explained to jurors that cocaine makes people talkative and euphoric. He said he and the woman stayed in the stall for a while talking while other people walked in and out of the bathroom, some of them also doing drugs.
“It is never empty,” he said about the bathroom. “Lot 10 is always packed.”
After spending time together in the bathroom, Smith said, “I totally felt like she liked me.”
He said he kissed her and they started “messing around,” eventually having consensual sex in the stall.
“She’s not saying anything in a sense of no or anything,” he said. “There was no, ‘No.’ There was no, ‘Stop.’ There was no, ‘I don’t want to do this.’”
He said the two eventually came out of the stall and he invited her to an after-party, which he said she consented to attend. But as they were leaving the bar, Smith said a mutual friend of theirs started yelling at her due to a prior conflict they had and the woman left.
He admitted to later being untruthful to Investigator Barksdale about the crime but said that was because his mind was racing so quickly and he’d just been accused of rape.
Smith said that since the incident, he has turned his life over to God and is no longer involved in the drug scene he used to be involved in. His longtime wife, he said, was a major part of that.
“She accepted that I cheated on her,” he said, saying that still having her in his life is like having the love of God.
Jurors began deliberating Wednesday afternoon and are scheduled to begin deliberating again Thursday morning.