MEDIA COURTHOUSE — Deliberations began Wednesday afternoon in the trial of a Philadelphia man charged with carjacking and attempted rape of a woman in March 2019.
Lamar Griffin, 46, faces charges of kidnapping, robbery, attempted rape, attempted sexual assault, theft of a motor vehicle, theft by unlawful taking, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, receiving possession of an instrument of crime and persons not possessing a firearm during the alleged incident which began outside the Happy House Chinese restaurant in the early hours of the morning of 17 March 2019.
A jury will decide most charges while the Court of Common Pleas Anthony Scanlon will decide that the person does not have a firearms charge.
The alleged victim tearfully recited her ordeal during the day-long trial.
She said she went out with two cousins that night and they stopped at the restaurant afterwards. One of her cousins drove a Ford Explorer and the other sat in the front passenger side, she said.
They placed their food orders and were told it would take a while, so they left to use the toilet at a nearby house and returned about 15 minutes later. After returning to the restaurant, the woman said she took her food to the car and went back to the back seat. The car owner and another cousin were still waiting for their food. The owner lit the car so the alleged victim could warm up, she said. That’s when Griffin allegedly jumped into the unlocked driver’s side door.
“I said, ‘Excuse me, sir, but you jumped in the wrong car,'” the alleged victim told Assistant District Attorney Gina Gorbey. “That’s when he pulled out a gun.”
The alleged victim said Griffin used his left hand to point a silver and black handgun at her above her body while using his right to steer and ordered her to throw her cell phone into the front seat.
She said she asked to get out of the vehicle, but he called her aw—- and told her that was what she got for being out late at night.
The woman said Griffin stopped in a nearby alley and then ordered her out of the car. She said Griffin ordered her to give him everything she had, so she handed over $50 in cash. He threw her phone over a fence and ordered her to strip, she said. When the alleged victim didn’t undress quickly enough, she said Griffin ripped her bra and shirt off, then started pulling her pants down.
The alleged victim said she did not see the gun at this point or whether Griffin had taken off any of her own clothing because she was facing away from him. She said she begged him not to rape her and told him she was on her period. That’s when she said Griffin grabbed the vehicle owner’s purse from the Ford and fled on foot.
The alleged victim said she gathered most of her clothes and put them on as best she could, then retrieved her phone from where Griffin had thrown it.
The owner of the vehicle testified that her cousin looked upset and disheveled when they reconnected shortly after. The owner had already called 911 to report the vehicle stolen and police had searched the area.
Chester officer Brian Boerger said he was one of the first on the scene and spoke to the alleged victim when he returned. The Ford was located on Congress Street, an alley off Lincoln Street near the restaurant, he said.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Gold asked the alleged victim why she didn’t scream for help or try to flee the vehicle while Griffin was driving. She explained that she was a mother whose main concern was getting home that night and that Griffin had a gun pointed at her.
“I think if I had screamed or run he probably would have shot me,” she said.
Gold also spent a lot of time questioning the two women about whether they had seen his client at the restaurant the first or second time they arrived. He played videos for the jury which showed the women first arriving around 1:42 a.m. and returning around 2:06 a.m., although Chester detective Brian Pot said those timestamps were incorrect and slowed down by about 19 minutes.
The driver was adamant that Griffin was looking out the window the second time they arrived, while the alleged victim said Griffin was in the store the first time. Gorbey stipulated that Griffin did not first enter the store until about 1:57 a.m., according to CCTV.
Pot also testified that Griffin first arrived at the restaurant around 1:57 a.m., but just stuck his head in and walked away. Pot also described an exterior video that allegedly showed Griffin driving a red Chrysler through the area before parking near the restaurant and going inside. Griffin did not order or purchase food, according to Pot.
Griffin had been parked across from the restaurant, then moved his vehicle after the women returned, slowly passing them, Pot said. He can later be seen on video inside the restaurant with the women, but they don’t appear to be making contact, according to Pot. The vehicle owner and the alleged victim identified Griffin, but said they did not know him and had no contact with him earlier that night.
Pot said CCTV shows Griffin standing outside as the owner lights the car for the alleged victim, then gets into the Ford and drives off as the owner and another cousin enter the store.
He then turned left on Lincoln, left on Eighth Street, and turned toward Congress. Minutes after the Ford pulled into the driveway, Pot said Griffin was seen getting out and running north on Lincoln to the Chrysler’s last known location. The Chrysler was then seen driving past the restaurant, Pot said.
Griffin was arrested on an unrelated DUI charge two days later driving the same Chrysler, Pot said at a pre-trial hearing. Pot said he was able to speak to Griffin and showed him an image taken from inside the Happy House on March 17. Griffin acknowledged the photo was him, Pot said.
Pot told Gold during cross-examination that he knew of Griffin’s address, but did not obtain a search warrant to find the missing purse or the handgun allegedly used. in crime.
Griffin did not testify and the defense did not call any witnesses on Wednesday.