ST. JOSEPH — A girlfriend and former girlfriend of Antonio Lucas told a Berrien County jury Thursday that the woman accusing him of a series of brutal rapes and assaults was angry that he was dating other women.
Lucas, 33, of Benton Harbor, is on trial on 15 counts for alleged incidents that occurred between April 9, 2018, and June 26, 2018. The alleged victim testified earlier in the week that he came to her home on a number of occasions and choked and raped her. She said she had let him in each time because her landlord had told her she would be evicted if there was any trouble involving police.
The woman testified that she had been in a relationship with Lucas but had ended it in March 2018 and he would not leave her alone. She said he would come to her home and create a ruckus outside, so she had to let him in.
Public defenders Stephanie Farkas and Jennifer Fields began calling witnesses Thursday after Berrien Assistant Prosecutor and Chief Trial Attorney Jeffrey Taylor rested his case. Among them was Maurice Bowman, the former landlord of the alleged victim.
He testified that he would not evict a tenant for calling the police and had never told the woman that. He said he had received multiple complaints about men coming and going at her apartment, and still did not evict her until she stopped paying rent.
Yendorii Lewis testified that she is “friends with benefits” with Lucas, and that her relationship with him overlapped with the alleged victim’s. She told the jury that she saw Lucas video-chatting with the woman on April 19, 2018, on his birthday. That is during the period when the attacks are alleged to have occurred.
Lewis said she also witnessed times the alleged victim called Lucas and came to his home, professing her love for him.
Under cross examination, Lewis told Taylor that Lucas had called her Wednesday evening.
“What did you talk about?” Taylor asked Lewis.
“He said he had a bad feeling,” she replied.
“About what?” Taylor asked.
“All this,” she responded.
She said other than that, they did not discuss the case or what her testimony would be.
Angela Joyner testified that she dated Lucas in the past, and that they had an “open” relationship and both were free to see other people. She said the alleged victim would come to Lucas’ house uninvited, get “physically aggressive” and threaten her. Joyner said she was married at the time and the alleged victim went on Lucas’ phone, took pictures of conversations between Joyner and Lucas, and sent them to Joyner’s then-husband.
She described the alleged victim as “rude and unhappy.”
Testimony was to resume this morning, with Taylor expected to call a rebuttal witness. Trial Court Judge Angela Pasula told Joyner and Lewis they both were to return to court first thing in the morning.
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