The gloved fingers across her face awoke the 21-year-old woman, who had spent the night in the living room of her friend’s apartment.
There was a voice from behind the couch.
“It was asking me how many people were in the house,” the woman testified last week in District Judge David Wall’s courtroom.
“He said if I were to scream, he’d snap my neck. Then he removed my underwear,” she said.
She was one of seven women who were sexually assaulted by the Flamingo Road rapist, so-called because he terrorized neighborhoods in the general vicinity of Flamingo Road on the east side of Interstate 15. Two of the victims were underage when they were attacked.
Nine years after the last known attack, a jury on Monday evening convicted 42-year-old Dushon Green of 19 counts of sexual-assault related charges for the attacks that occurred in the late 1990s. The jurors deliberated for slightly more than an hour.
Green shook his head as the verdict was read.
Green is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 5, and Wall has a number of sentencing options, including giving Green multiple life sentences.
The verdict will be appealed, Green’s lawyer said.
In closing arguments, defense attorney Susan Burke had dismissed DNA, victim identifications and a palm print found outside the point-of-entry for one of the crime scenes.
They all pointed to Green, but Burke argued that prosecutors had failed to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
After the verdict, she declined to comment on the case except to say there are multiple appealable issues, including evidence suppression.
Green was arrested in 2004, long after the last known case of the Flamingo Road rapist, which occurred in March 1998.
With blood, saliva and semen left at the crime scenes or on the victims, Las Vegas police were able to obtain a DNA profile of the rapist, and eventually discovered Green matched the DNA profile.
His DNA was collected after a 2001 conviction for pandering prostitutes while working as a local limo driver.
He was required to submit the DNA as part of his supervised release.
That DNA sample and thousands of others went unprocessed for nearly two years because of a manpower shortage in the Metropolitan Police Department’s forensic laboratory.
Attorneys questioned jurors prior to the trial about whether they believed a viable defense to DNA existed.
“What we’re dealing with is probabilities, not certainties and human error is always a factor,” Burke said, adding that the samples were moved and opened and closed many times over the years.
A fingerprint found on duct tape at one crime scene was not Green’s fingerprint, and investigators failed to check for prints in the first sexual assault case, Burke said.
That victim fought back as the rapist tried to restrain her, and she whacked him in the face with the roll of tape, causing him to bleed on the sheets.
“His blood was in her bed,” said prosecutor Mary Kay Holthus.
She emphasized Green’s DNA was found at seven separate crime scenes, collected by seven people and tested in separate conditions multiple times.
The attacks were all similar in several ways, including that they all occurred between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. at apartments.
In each case, the aggressor was passive-aggressive, Holthus said, telling victims he’d spare them pain if they cooperated, including a 16-year-old whom he attacked while she slept in the same bedroom as her little sister, Holthus told the jury.
In that case, he dragged her into the living room, where he forced himself upon her orally after she begged him not to rape her because she was a virgin, Holthus said.
Because she passed into different light when he forced her from one room to another, she was able to identify Green in a photo lineup after the attack and in court, prosecutor Tom Carroll said.
But even if she hadn’t been able to identify him, the saliva he left on her body was evidence enough, prosecutors said.
The DNA from that saliva matched Green’s, authorities said.
“The reality is the DNA makes it 100 percent sure,” Holthus said.