Big Isle man acquitted in assault case
A UH-Hilo student said that she offered sex to escape injury
HILO » A Big Island man, accused of sexually assaulting, kidnapping and threatening a South Korean university student in 2006, has been acquitted on all counts by a Hilo jury.
The courtroom was packed Thursday with Donovan Roque's family members and supporters during closing arguments, but they made no statement following the verdict.
His accuser, then 23, testified she went walking for exercise near the University of Hawaii at Hilo at about 9:30 on the night in question. She became lost, stopped Roque's car and asked for help.
Roque, 24, took her to a deserted, 950-foot-long dead-end street and stopped his pickup truck, saying he thought he had tire trouble, she said. She testified he pulled a knife on her and touched her body, including her private parts.
Roque, however, denied that account and testified that she suddenly hugged him and told him she wanted to have sex.
She said she convinced him to put down the knife and come to her apartment for sex. On arrival, she gave no hint of trouble to her roommates but later slipped away from Roque and wrote a note telling the roommates to call police. They did and police arrived and arrested Roque.
Deputy Prosecutor Rick Damerville said he knew her invitation to her apartment would bother jurors, who typically would want signs of a struggle. The woman invited Roque to her apartment to escape injury and trap her attacker, Damerville said.
"This woman used her brain. She wanted to catch him," he said.
Defense attorney Mike Ebesugawa declined to comment.