The man accused of kidnapping and raping in a three-day ordeal in Boston in 2019 testified Monday, a new twist in the trial — lawyers for the prosecution and defense had been scheduled to make their closing arguments.
Victor Peña, 42, hadn't testified earlier in the trial in Suffolk Superior Court. He's facing 10 charges of aggravated rape and one of kidnapping.
Peña appeared in the courtroom carrying a book and wearing rosary beads around his neck. His accuser had testified that the man would make her read the Bible in Spanish while he held her her captive at his apartment in Charlestown and sexually assaulted her.
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While testifying, he spoke in Spanish through an interpreter. Earlier in the trial, Peña had been required not to be in the same room as the jury due to behavioral issues — during jury selection, he'd stripped naked.
Peña testified that the woman approached him and insisted on going home with him. What prosecutors described of three days of hell for the woman at the man's Charlestown apartment, he said as consensual, and referred to the victim as an angel.
"We made love. This is normal. God tells us in this life to have relations," he said.
At one point on the stand, while describing when police found them in his apartment, Peña punched the air and took his shirt off. He said he wanted to testify to clear his name.
The prosecution had no questions for the man, but did have a doctor testify that Peña is mentally competent to stand trial.
Peña's family and his attorney have said he suffers from mental health issues and has the mental capacity of a 12-year-old, but he was declared competent to stand trial following a hearing.
Evidence was presented in the courtroom last week. On Friday, jurors went to Peña's Charlestown apartment to see where the alleged crimes took place, two days after the alleged victim in the case took the stand for the first time.
The woman, whom NBC10 Boston is not naming because she is the alleged victim of a sexual assault, told a jury in Boston she remembered waking up naked in an unfamiliar apartment after going out in Boston the night before.
"I tried to leave," the woman said, but her alleged attacker, Victor Peña, "wouldn't let me…he threatened to kill me."
"I didn't want to die so I just let him," she continued. "He said he rescued me and saved me and I would've gotten frostbite if he hadn't saved me."
A companion of Peña, Marlon Roldan, testified Tuesday about what happened when they saw the victim walking alone the night of Jan. 19, 2019, on Congress Street. Peña said hello to her, she said hi back, they started to talk, and she started walking with him. Roldan said the victim was visibly drunk and he told Peña to leave her alone.
"I told him 'Let's keep going, leave her there,' and he didn't listen. He continued going with her," Roldan said in court.
He testified that Peña was hugging her and eventually the two were kissing as they were walking toward State Street Station. Roldan left but Peña took the woman on the T, getting on the same train as Amy Simpson, who told the jury last Tuesday that the woman couldn't even stand up straight.