WASHINGTON – A former Naval Academy quarterback said he knew something "terrible" had happened the night he is accused of raping a female midshipman in her dorm room, according to testimony Wednesday by a friend of the accuser.
Lamar Owens Jr. said he went to the woman's room early Jan. 29 after she gave him her room number in an instant message exchange, according to testimony by the friend during Owens' court-martial on rape and other charges.
But when the friend confronted Owens about the encounter the next night, Owens looked shaken and appeared to have been crying, she said. The friend testified that she asked Owens, "'Did she invite you into her bed?' He said no."
Two friends of the accuser and the accuser's boyfriend took the stand Wednesday in the second day of testimony in the court-martial of Owens, a former football standout who led the team to an 8-4 record and bowl victory last fall.
The woman said Tuesday that Owens came to her room early in the morning as she slept and forced himself on her. She said her memory of that night was spotty and that she was drunk, but that she tried to resist and did not give Owens consent for sex.
Owens' attorney told the military jury that sex was consensual and that Owens stopped it when he realized the woman had blacked out.
The woman's boyfriend said Wednesday that she contacted him shortly after the encounter with Owens and that he went to her room to find her crying and curled up on her bed.
Her roommate testified that the woman was despondent the rest of the day.
"She would just crawl into bed, curl up in a ball and start crying," the roommate said.
The Associated Press is not identifying the woman or her close friends because she has reported being sexually assaulted.
It remains unclear why Owens went to the woman's dorm room. She could not recall having contact with Owens when she returned to her room after a night of heavy drinking.
Her boyfriend said he asked the woman whether she had sent instant messages to Owens before he came to her room.
"She was pretty sure she had IM'd him, but wasn't completely sure," the boyfriend said.
Owens' attorneys claim the woman sent him messages that night, inviting him to the room. No record of those messages has been introduced in court.
The boyfriend testified that all instant message boxes on her computer screen had been closed after the encounter with Owens, making them irretrievable.
Also Wednesday, Navy Judge Cmdr. John Maksym said he would rule this week on whether to allow prosecutors to play a recording of a phone call between Owens and the woman.
On the tape, played during a preliminary hearing without jurors present, Owens apologizes, asking the woman whether she reported the encounter to authorities, saying he thought about killing himself. He stopped short of admitting to rape.
Along with a rape charge, Owens is accused of conduct unbecoming an officer and violating a military protective order. The maximum sentence he faces is life in prison.