A juror was excused from court Friday morning in the criminal trial against 21-year-old Christina Regusters who is accused of kidnapping and raping a five-year-old Philadelphia girl last year.
The alternate juror was released at the start of court due to a family emergency. She is one of the jurors who became emotional earlier in the week when the prosecution brought out pictures and detailed the victim's injuries and reconstructive surgeries. Juror 14's absence leaves the panel of 12 jurors and four alternates.
The prosecution continued its case against Regusters, who is accused of abducting the victim from her school daycare last winter in the Cobbs Creek neighborhood, sneaking her home in a laundry bag, hiding her naked underneath a bed and sexually assaulting her with a sharp object, repeatedly. The victim was then taken to a nearby park. Her 19-hour ordeal ended when she was found that next morning by a passerby.
Upper Darby Police Officer Michael DeHoratius took the stand this morning. He was the first officer on the scene after the victim was found screaming for help underneath a swing set at the park on the morning of Jan. 14, 2013. She was shivering, dressed in only a T-shirt.
DeHoratius said he picked up the victim, placed her in his patrol car and turned up the heat to keep her warm. He said she was dirty and smelled of feces.
Detective Manual Gonzales testified that a rape kit was administered at the hospital and there was no evidence of sperm or evidence of cells from another human being.
Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia later determined she had been sexually assaulted with a sharp object requiring her to undergo multiple surgeries so that her body could heal.
The victim testified with self assuredness earlier this week, facing her accused attacker in court. The victim's mother also took the stand Wednesday with emotional testimony and pictures. She described how the attack changed her daughter's life.
Prosecutors allege Regusters acted alone. She is the only person charged in the case. Regusters maintains her innocence. Her attorney, Fred Harrison, Jr., says other people were involved. Regusters is expected to take the stand in her own defense.