Testimony from a victim, who said she struggled to stay alive and feared being raped and killed, kept the courtroom riveted Tuesday as a trial began in Liberty County Superior Court.
The victim, who appeared distraught at the start of her testimony, alleges Christopher Jamal Fletcher threatened to kill her throughout a March 13, 2007, crime at the Ok-Cha Beauty Supply store in Hinesville.
Fletcher is on trial on one count of armed robbery and one count of aggravated sexual sodomy.
Assistant District Attorney Jon Hope questioned the woman about the incident and she gave a detailed account of the event.
The woman said she reported to work and opened the store the way she had for the past three years. Usually the owner's daughter joined her, but the witness said the owner’s daughter occasionally came in late, around lunchtime.
The witness said the suspect entered the store and asked to use the phone. After using the phone, she said the suspect left but said he would come back later to use the phone again.
The witness said the man returned 15 minutes later and suddenly things went bad. Within minutes he came around the counter and she told him he was not supposed to be there. A struggle ensued and he reportedly pulled out a knife.
"He said he was going to kill me," the victim testified. “In my head I thought, ‘I'm going to be raped and killed.’ ”
She testified she was forced to do things while the suspect threatened to kill her and choked her on more than one occasion.
He later took cash and store items and left but threatened her once again before leaving the store.
"He said if I talk, he's going to come back and kill me," she testified.
Public Defender William Cox was able to cross-examine the victim along with the state's first witness, HPD detective Tracey Howard.
The trial is expected to be finished Thursday.