'I just wanted to forget what happened' says Winner rape trial witness

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Chuck Goudie and the ABC7 I-Team have been investigating suspected serial rapist Marc Winner for more than two years. (WLS)

Cook County prosecutors on Wednesday rested their case against accused serial rapist Marc Winner after testimony from a woman who described her harrowing evening with the tanning parlor owner.

The witness, identified in court by the initials S.M., described her encounter with Winner in December 2012.

In soft-spoken testimony, she said that she was in Winner's apartment sitting on a stool, facing away from him. S.M., then 25, said Winner forcefully grabbed her neck.

"With his other hand he threw my head back and forced pills down my throat," she said.

The Lakeview resident testified that she met Winner through an acquaintance at a mental health facility where she had been a patient. Winner, she claimed, offered to provide her drug addict roommate with pills.

S.M. described having gone to Winner's apartment where he "grabbed" her. She said that she was scared and asked him to stop.

She said after Winner forced pills down her throat, she felt like her brain was foggy and cloudy that her body felt like it wasn't attached, weightless, like she couldn't move.

The next thing she remembers is that he grabbed her and brought her to his bed. She said he pushed her onto the bed, got on top of her, held her arms down and pinned her to the bed.

S.M. said that she blacked out and doesn't remember what happened next.

After regaining consciousness, the woman testified that she ran as fast as she could from Winner's apartment because he was chasing her.

She said that she never reported the incident to police because, "I was afraid no one would believe me and I just wanted to forget what happened."

Prosecutors presented her testimony as proof of a sexual crime pattern by Winner, even though he is not charged with assaulting her. Winner is on trial on charges that he raped one of his former tanning salon employees in 2009. Authorities have said that Winner raped at least nine women during a 16-year span.

During cross examination, Winner's attorney Susan Pavlow repeatedly questioned S.M. about her mental health background. She asked S.M. about the pills that were allegedly forced down her throat by Winner and questioned whether she had pursed her lips, spit them out, or moved her head.

After the state rested, Winner's attorneys asked Cook County Judge Carol Howard for a directed verdict of acquittal, saying that prosecutors hadn't proved the criminal charges and that the trial should end. Judge Howard denied the motion.

The defense is expected to call a couple of witnesses beginning Thursday morning. It seems likely that Winner himself will take the stand to testify on his own behalf.
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I-TeamrapetrialChicagoWest Loop
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