November 27, 2012

Portland suspect: I was drunk, but I didn't rape

The hearing on whether a Somali teen will be tried as a juvenile or an adult could resume on Friday.

By Scott Dolan
Staff Writer

PORTLAND – A hearing to decide whether a Somali teenager accused of rape will be tried as an adult will continue at an unknown date.

The prosecution and lead investigator showed a video on day two of Tuesday's hearing in juvenile court that showed Mohammed Mukhtar being interviewed at the Portland Police Department after his arrest May 26. Mukhtar is charged with burglary and gross sexual assault.

Mukhtar admits in the video to breaking into the 50-year-old woman's apartment on High Street, taking off his shorts and underwear and putting on a condom. But he denies raping her.

"I was drunk," Mukhtar said in the video. "I was out of my mind."

Mukhtar asked Detective Maryann Bailey in the video to give a message to the victim: "I am sorry I went into her home."

Bailey told Mukhtar in the video that police have other video recordings of Mukhtar breaking into the apartment building and entering the woman's room.

A central issue in the case is Mukhtar's age. He told police at the time of his arrest that his birthday was Jan. 1, 1994, as official records indicated. His attorney, Jonathan Berry, later argued successfully that Mukhtar had been assigned that birthday when he came to the United States and that his actual birthday is Oct. 25, 1994, making him a juvenile at the time of his arrest.

Assistant District Attorney Christine Thibeault is seeking to have Mukhtar tried as an adult.

Berry is seeking to have him tried as a juvenile and to have the video evidence suppressed because he did not have adult representation.

If convicted as a juvenile, Mukhtar would serve no more than three years in juvenile detention. As an adult, Mukhtar faces up to 20 years in prison.

The hearing could be reconvened as soon as Friday.


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