Saturday, September 18, 1999

Girl tells how she fled
from assailant

By Debra Barayuga


A Mililani teen said she was already having a bad day when a stranger came up behind her and put a knife to her neck as she walked to a friend's house.

She said she thought, "Great, this is all I need right now."

But she kept her wits and remained calm, enabling her to escape from him a little later.

The girl, now 18 and attending a mainland university, returned to testify against James Allen Thompson, whom she identified as her assailant on Feb. 13, 1997.

Thompson, a former prison guard, is charged with preying on five Mililani girls between January and September 1997, abducting three at knifepoint and forcing them to perform oral sex on him.

During the second day of Thompson's trial, the girl said she tried to distract the man, who held a knife to her throat and ordered her along a pathway next to a park behind Mililani Waena school. She described him as paranoid, saying he kept looking around.

She said she felt no fear initially but was angry at her assailant for making her day worse than it was. She asked him his name and age. He said he was John and was 27.

While she was an athlete and confident of her ability to flee, she wasn't sure what he was capable of and didn't know if he had another weapon, she testified.

A chance to escape arose when they passed by townhomes and she saw a woman watering her grass. The hand holding the knife to her throat had dropped slightly, enabling her to twist around, hit her assailant in the stomach and run toward the woman.

Deputy public defender Todd Eddins has argued that his client is not the assailant dubbed the Mililani rapist.

He argued that police did not follow correct procedures in conducting physical and photo lineups, resulting in the victims' identifying his client as their attacker. The girl denied speaking to the other victims who were put in one room with several others to identify their assailant.

She said the girls were told not to discuss the case with the others or make any indication as to who in the physical lineup matched their attacker.

"There was no doubt in my mind as soon as I got into the room," she said.

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