Selby rape trial close to conclusion

By Holly Wells
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, October 6, 2004

The trial of a man suspected of raping and attacking several women in the UA area is expected to end today, prosecutors said.

James Allen Selby, 37, has more than a dozen charges against him, including attempted murder, sexual assault, burglary and kidnapping.

The attacks involve five women and a 13-year-old girl and occurred in Tucson between October 2001 and May 2002. Three of the women were sexually assaulted. Four of the attacks took place in the UA area.

Yesterday morning, the prosecution concentrated on an attack that occurred May 30, 2002, in which the victim's debit card and car were stolen after she was raped.

Selby showed up to the trial, which started Sept. 28, in an orange prison uniform.

Selby has reportedly worn the orange uniform every day, although he is allowed to wear other clothing.

For the first two days of the trial, Selby acted as his own lawyer, cross-examining three of the victims. He is now represented by Mike Mussman of the Pima County Public Defender's office.

Yesterday, a neighbor of one of the victims told the jury that on May 30, 2002, the victim came to his house in nothing but a blanket and said she had just been raped.

The Wildcat is withholding the neighbor's name to protect the victim's identity.

The neighbor said the woman was very distressed and frightened.

The neighbor told the jury he cut off the tie-wraps that were binding the victim's wrists before calling police.

The neighbor said he remembered being told that the victim's car had been stolen.

Mussman then asked the neighbor if he was required to provide his DNA to police. The neighbor replied yes.

When Mussman asked why he thought that was, the neighbor said, "Well, she was in my house and she was wearing my clothes."

John Barnes, a former employee of Compass Bank, also testified yesterday.

He told of an incident on May 30, 2002, when he went to use the ATM at Compass Bank, 120 N. Stone Ave., and waited behind a man in front of him.

Barnes told the jury the machine did not give the card back to the man and the man left.

Barnes said the card then came out and Barnes had given it back to the man.

Barnes said he had seen a woman's name on the card.

Barnes said he could identify the man he had seen that day and pointed to Selby.

Although the incident happened more than two years ago, Barnes said he remembered Selby because of his eyes and his unusual behavior that day.

Sgt. Elizabeth Whitmore, who works at Tucson Police Department as supervisor of the Adult Sexual Assault Division, told the jury how she had gotten a call on May 30, 2002, about the victim.

Whitmore said on that day she was told the victim's debit card and car had been stolen.

The stolen card was later traced back to the same Compass Bank and the car was found nearby in a handicap parking spot.

The prosecution's case relies mainly on DNA evidence. In four of the five cases, DNA from the scene matched Selby's DNA profile.

If Selby is convicted he could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Tucson Police first issued a warrant for Selby's arrest in August 2002.

During that time several posters of Selby were hung around campus warning that Selby was suspected of being a serial rapist.

Selby, who served seven years in the U.S. Army, was eventually arrested in Colorado Springs in September 2002 after he checked into a veteran's hospital and an employee recognized him and called police.

Selby was recently convicted in Colorado for breaking into the house of a 56-year-old woman and raping her, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison for that crime.

Selby is suspected of raping or attempting to rape several other women in three other states. He is wanted in Oklahoma, Nevada and California.