Rape defendant decides not to testify

Will not be allowed to argue sex acts were consensual in closing

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The defendant representing himself on multiple rape charges in a series of 2010 attacks said Friday he will not testify.

That means that, despite innuendo and insinuation by Arthur Henderson during questioning that the sex acts committed with the alleged victims were consensual, he cannot argue that when he gives his closing to the jury Monday.

Henderson, 39, is charged with dozens of counts for the attacks -- one in Hopewell and two in Ross -- including rape, unlawful restraint, robbery and theft.

On Friday, Allegheny County Common Pleas President Judge Donna Jo McDaniel told the defendant if he planned to testify he needed to do so that afternoon.

Henderson first asked if his stand-by counsel -- the attorneys originally supposed to represent him -- could question him.

The judge told him no, and said that instead Henderson would be required to take the stand and provide a statement to the jurors with what he wanted them to know.

"If you do not testify, or have someone testify, that these actions with the ladies were consensual, you will not be able to argue that in closings," she told him. "Your questions to victims are not evidence."

Henderson said he would not testify, but as he was being led away from the courtroom, carrying his documents in a pink laundry bag, he said, "It's a trick."

During his cross-examination of the victims, Henderson repeatedly asked if the women knew him, and whether there was consensual sex.

All three denied that, and instead said they were raped by him.

Earlier Friday, three forensic scientists testified that DNA from Henderson matched that taken from each victim.

For the first attack, which occurred about 8 a.m. on Jan. 7, 2012, in Hopewell, sperm collected from a vaginal swab of the victim matched Henderson's DNA profile.

The odds that the sample would match another black male are 1 in 8 quintillion, said Laura Brown, an analyst with the state police DNA lab.

"Does collection of DNA show whether sex is consensual?" Henderson asked.

"No, it does not," she answered.

"Does it show when it was left in term of time and date?"

"No, our testing does not show that," Ms. Brown replied.

In the second assault, later that same morning in Ross at the Woodhawk Club apartments, Henderson's DNA was also found. In that instance, the chance of the sample matching another black man was 1 in 1 quintillion.

The third assault occurred early in the morning on Jan. 9 at the Cascade Apartments in Ross. Again, Henderson's DNA matched a sample collected from the victim. The chances of it matching another black male was 1 in 8 quintillion.

After that testimony, the prosecution rested its case.

Later in the day, Henderson called two of the doctors who examined the victims to testify.

As he attempted to interview emergency room physician Andrew Reibach, Henderson became visibly frustrated after he lost a series of objections.

It led to a warning from the judge.

"We have granted you a lot of leeway in allowing you to go out of bounds," Judge McDaniel told him. But, she continued, if he didn't listen to her rulings, she would have the jury removed and that she and Henderson would "work it out."

Dr. Reibach testified that he examined the woman attacked at the Cascades and that she had abrasions and bruises to her wrists, forearms, knees and vagina.

"Is that normal from just having sex?" Henderson asked.

"I'm not sure," the doctor replied.

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Paula Reed Ward: pward@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2620.


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