Woman testifies she was beaten with hammer, sexually assaulted
A woman testified Wednesday between tears as she recalled how a Grand Forks woman allegedly sexually assaulted and hit her with a hammer.
Rebecca Dakota Grant, 31, sat at the defendant's desk Wednesday in Grand Forks District Court as the state presented its case against her. She faces multiple charges, including a Class AA felony of gross sexual imposition, and would spend a minimum of 20 years in prison if convicted. If found guilty she could be sentenced for life without parole.
She also was charged with attempted murder, terrorizing and aggravated assault.
The woman Grant allegedly assaulted testified in court she was washing dishes on May 22 in her kitchen when Grant came in and hit her several times in the face, back and stomach with a claw hammer. The woman said she's known Grant for several years and Grant has been violent toward her previously.
The woman said Grant then threw her on the floor and raped her.
"I don't even know how to describe it," she told the jury as she cried and tried to wipe away tears.
The woman said she began to scream, so Grant dragged her to a child's bedroom and continued to sexually assault her. When Grant left the room, the woman followed and said she was looking to escape, the accuser said. She said Grant sprayed bleach water into the woman's face and stuffed a cleaning rag that had been used with the chemicals into her mouth to silence the screams.
The woman said Grant dragged her into another bedroom and threatened repeatedly to kill her.
The woman told the jury Grant knelt on the accuser's stomach and choked her until she briefly lost consciousness—"parts of it were gone." When she came to, she was still being punched, she said.
The woman said Grant then broke an oscillating fan and used the pole to beat the woman before cutting her in the back with a box cutter.
She said Grant changed out of bloodied clothes and told the woman to get dressed. Grant then walked to the kitchen to start wiping up blood, the woman said. The woman left the bedroom and ran from the apartment, she said.
The Herald typically does not identify victims or accusers in sexual assault cases.
Photos shown during the trial document depicted numerous lacerations and bruises on the woman's body. Some bruises on her back appeared to be rectangular or circular in shape. Blood dripped down her face from a cut near her left eye socket, where she told police she was hit with a hammer. On her back, there was a nearly 4-inch cut, where she testified Grant had cut her with the box cutter. A sexual assault nurse examiner from Altru Hospital testified the woman's nose was broken in multiple places.
The woman had a restraining order against Grant.
Attorneys showed a video from a November 2017 incident when an argument happened between the woman and Grant in an apartment hallway. Aggravated assault charges were filed against Grant but were later dismissed.
Public Defender Samuel Gereszek questioned the woman about her recollection of the 2017 incident and the assault in May, claiming she was not being honest about when Grant choked her or was pushing her away in the November video.
Gereszek said she told investigators different details about the most recent assault and sometimes left things out, like being sprayed in the face with bleach. The woman talked with an officer immediately after the assault and was interviewed again at the hospital the following day.
She said she was significantly medicated when she was in the hospital and the severe trauma made it difficult to gather her thoughts.
"Would you remember every detail right after? You're trying to make me out to be a liar," she asked Gereszek as he questioned her. "Would I be able to beat myself like I was? No—it would be humanly impossible."
She said she felt extreme shame and embarrassment about the assault, which made her hesitant to detail the rape. She said it's had lasting effects on her life and she now struggles even to be alone.
"I don't sleep until my body gives out," she said.