A woman testified Friday that a Baton Rouge man turned her 39th birthday celebration into a nightmare when he robbed her and her younger sister, abducted them and raped them at a BREC park in 2014.
Those crimes, a prosecutor told an East Baton Rouge Parish jury, were part of Andre Young's alleged 3 1/2-hour crime wave on July 27, 2014.
Young, who was 19 at the time, is charged with 24 combined counts of armed robbery and attempted armed robbery, second-degree kidnapping, aggravated rape, attempted second-degree murder and simple burglary. An aggravated rape conviction would put the 23-year-old man behind bars for the rest of his life.
The 42-year-old woman, whose birthday is July 28, testified Friday on the opening day of Young's trial that she and her sister had left an after-hours club and were standing next to their car with two men in a parking lot on Greenwell Street when Young and two other black males robbed all four of them of their jewelry, cash and phones.
Young, she said, then forced the women into the car and drove them to a BREC park on Evangeline Street and raped them — her sister on a concrete basketball court and herself on a bench on the side of the court.
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"I had a chance to jump out (of the car on the way to the park) but I wasn't going to leave my baby sister," the woman said, often fighting back tears. It is The Advocate's policy not to identify the victims of sexual assault.
While Young was raping her sister, the woman said, "I couldn't do nothing. Closed my eyes and cried. I couldn't leave my sister."
The woman said Young used a condom that he pulled out of his pocket before raping her and her sister. Young indicated he had a gun in his pocket during the ordeal, she added.
The woman said she and her sister managed to run away and ended up at her daughter's house, which was nearby, where the woman called 911. The woman buried her face in her hands and cried when she heard her own voice on the recording that was played for the jury.
In an odd twist, the woman said she and her sister were standing outside her daughter's house about an hour later talking with police when Young drove by in a Lexus that East Baton Rouge Parish First Assistant District Attorney Tracey Barbera said he had stolen from an Alabama man on Ontario Street.
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"I gasped and screamed, `There's that m***** f***** that kidnapped and raped us," she testified. "We looked eye to eye."
Police gave chase and eventually found Young hiding under a house on Shelley Street, the same street on which he lives, Barbera told the jury earlier Friday in her opening statement.
The woman who testified Friday said police took her and her sister to Shelley Street, where they observed Young from a short distance and identified him as their attacker.
Barbera said Young spread "terror" across the parish that morning when he allegedly robbed 10 people and shot two others.
"It was a Sunday, and hell had broken loose in East Baton Rouge Parish," Barbera told jurors.
Authorities have said the crimes began when Young and two accomplices robbed a woman on McClelland Drive. They then robbed a group of people — the two women and two men — in the Greenwell Street parking lot less than a block away, police said.
The accomplices, who were not caught, fled when Young forced the women into their car.
Jacie Saunders, one of Young's court-appointed attorneys, told the jury that authorities shut down their investigation after arresting Young and disregarded the other alleged accomplices.
"They're going to make sure all of this fits Andre," she said. "They've got somebody in custody. They don't need anybody else."
Barbera told jurors that DNA, fingerprints and victim identifications linked Young to the crimes. Young shot one man in the back as he fled after Young tried to rob him while he was washing his wife's car, the prosecutor said. Young also shot a witness to one of his alleged robberies, she added.
The trial will resume Monday and is expected to stretch well into next week. State District Judge Richard Anderson is presiding over the case.