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[February 24, 2009]
Woman testifies she was kicked like a dog during Katy Trail attack
Feb 24, 2009 (The Dallas Morning News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- A woman who was beaten and robbed as she biked on the Katy Trail in 2007 told a jury on Tuesday that her attackers kicked her "like a dog" and laughed during the assault.
Elizabeth Prezio, the first witness to take the stand in the trial of Jose Torres, recounted what happened to her on a Tuesday afternoon in November 2007 as she biked on the 3.5-mile trail.
Torres, now 18, and a then-15-year-old were arrested and charged with aggravated robbery. Authorities did not release the younger suspect's identity because of his age.
The 50-second attack left Prezio with multiple broken bones. Prezio testified Tuesday that the pain was excruciating. Her attackers kicked her and stole an iPod and her cellphone.
"Mostly, I felt stunned that they were laughing," she said.
During opening statements on Tuesday, the defense disputed the aggravated robbery charge, saying that Prezio had pre-existing medical conditions that contributed to her condition after the attack. They also raised questions about Torres' statement to police.
Police say they linked Torres to the crime after receiving phone records from the victim's stolen cellphone that showed Torres called his girlfriend. She later identified him.
Dallas robbery detective Scott Hopkins testified that Torres admitted to robbing and beating the victim. But police did not have a video or audio recording of any confession.
Torres' statement was later written by police, not Torres -- a point of contention with defense attorneys.
In the statement, which was read in court on Tuesday, Torres reported that the juvenile told him, "he knew where to get some iPods." The two went to the trail where they waited 10 minutes for someone to come by alone with an iPod, according to the statement.
According to the statement, Torres said they sold the cellphone for $50 and the iPod for $30, which he used to buy drugs.
Staff writers Dan X. McGraw, Samantha Urban and Sarah Perry contributed to this report.
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