The jury left Thursday without reaching a verdict in the trial of Steven Terry Jordan. When jurors return to the Barton County Courthouse Friday morning they plan to review testimony from the defendant and from his accuser, a 25-year-old woman who said he raped her on Feb. 6, 2013, in Great Bend.
Jurors also asked District Judge Ron Svaty if they could review the woman’s testimony from the preliminary hearing two years ago. They were told that is not part of the evidence.
Jordan, 46, is charged with rape, aggravated burglary and criminal damage to property.
On Thursday afternoon, jurors traveled to the 1200 block of Morphy Street and stood on the porch where Jordan lived in 2013. The woman lived one block over in the 1100 block, on the other side of the street. Jordan testified that on the night in question he was smoking on his porch, and could see her doing the same thing on her porch. He said she allowed him in the house and agreed to have sex for meth and money, although he didn’t pay her.
The trek to Morphy Street, which was within walking distance of the courthouse, was the last part of the trial before closing arguments.
“I’ve never done this before,” Svaty said.
After lunch, attorneys agreed on juror instructions and then made their closing statements. Each had 30 minutes, and Barton County Attorney Douglas A. Matthews was allowed to divide his time, speaking first and last.
He summarized the evidence: Someone with the victim’s cell phone called 911, but disconnected and did not answer after that. Officers responded to the last address associated with that number, but it was where she’d lived a few months earlier. Later, she called 911 and told the dispatcher a man had crashed through the door, carrying a knife, and raped her.
“You heard that call,” Matthews told the jury. “Is that the voice – is that the tone – of a person who has just been through a consensual sexual encounter?”
Officers saw the damaged door. An ambulance took the woman to Great Bend Regional Hospital, where she was examined by a nurse who specializes in sexual assault cases. DNA samples and other evidence were collected.
Matthews agreed that the woman’s testimony wasn’t always consistent on details. Did she drop the phone after the first 911 call or did Jordan take it from her?
“(She) is scared to death,” Matthews said. She also didn’t have a choice. “(She) didn’t enter into this at all. By the time Steven Jordan enters the yard ... by the time he’s kicking in the door ... he’s already made up his mind. He’s going to have sex with her. (She) doesn’t have a thing to say about it. She never did.”
Defense attorney Lynn Burke told the jury that the inconsistencies in the story do indeed matter. Dropping to her knees, Burke recited them all, as if spoken by the alleged victim, who went to bed (“I’m really tired ...”) still wearing her jeans – or yoga pants – and her bra. Burke continued to speak as a character:
“I think I heard some footsteps on my concrete front porch – I mean my wooden front porch. ... Someone’s pounding on my door; I saw the front door move – except I can’t see the front door. Where’s my dog? I’m really frightened, but I’m not going to shut my door. ...”
Burke painted a picture of the victim as a woman caught in her own web of lies. She was a woman who had consensual sex with Jordan and regretted it, concocting an elaborate tale to hide the act.
“She made up this story, a story that went too far,” Burke said.
When Matthews returned to the dais, he commented first on Burke’s closing.
“I can’t help but be touched,” he said sarcastically. “I have been entertained by the theater of the absurd.”
The victim’s testimony and statements to the police led authorities to only one person. “That person is behind me,” Matthews said, referring to Jordan