|Puckett on Trial|
Minneapolis, Minn. — Kirby Puckett described for jurors a radically different event than what the alleged victim testified to last week. Puckett told the court that just before midnight, he approached the men's bathroom at the Redstone Restaurant and Bar as the alleged victim -- identified by initials K.L. in court documents -- was leaving the men's bathroom.
He said K.L. was giggling, and said it was exciting in the bathroom and that she should've used it while she was in there. Puckett says he told K.L. that if she wanted to go in, he'd take her in because there was a line outside the ladies room. So he says he put his arm out and escorted her like a gentleman into the men's room. Once inside, he said K.L. headed for the stall farthest from the entrance only to find it occupied. He said he pushed another stall door open to see that someone had vomited there, which Puckett says resulted in K.L. swearing and leaving. He said he left the bathroom shortly thereafter.
Defense attorneys also noted Puckett's size, suggesting his girth made fitting into a bathroom stall difficult.
Minneapolis Police officer Tony Adams was with Puckett that night at the Redstone, but wasn't with him at the time of the alleged incident. He portrayed Puckett as "a soft touch." Adams, who was in uniform, said when Puckett opened a tab that night, people Puckett didn't know kept coming over to his table and ordering drinks. That tab ended up over $700.
Puckett's testimony was radically different from the violent incident K.L. described last week. Pausing several times because tears were welling up, she said Puckett dragged her into the men's bathroom against her will; that she hooked her ankle around the door jam to resist which caused a bruise on her ankle; and that once inside, Puckett groped her chest in one of the stalls which she also said caused a bruise. When a friend outside called K.L.'s first name, she said Puckett froze and allowed her to slip by and escape.
The defense, however, called two witnesses who suggested K.L. may have caused her own bruises. Jon Bartelt, 35, testified that he saw K.L. pull down her blouse and expose her breast in the bar earlier that night. He also said K.L. was drunk.
The defense also called forensic pathologist Dr. Susan Roe who's also a former assistant medical examiner in Hennepin and Ramsey counties and who typically testifies for the prosecution. She said she couldn't determine what caused K.L.'s bruises, but that they could have been self-inflicted.
Last week jurors were shown a photo of a bruise on K.L.'s ankle. Roe said that bruise was not consistent with K.L.'s contention that she got the bruise from holding on to the door jam with her foot.
On Tuesday, the state said it will call rebuttal witnesses, who may include the alleged victim. Closing arguments are scheduled for Wednesday.