All a Richland woman could think of was trying to stay alive as she fought off an attacker with a metal bar inside her apartment.
"I didn't want to die," she told a Benton County Superior Court jury Tuesday. "I did not want the police to call my parents that day and tell them I was dead. Period."
She took the stand during the first day of testimony in a rape and assault trial, recalling details from the December 2009 attack inside her fourth-floor apartment at The Villas at Meadow Springs.
Cody Joseph Kloepper, 33, a maintenance worker at the Gage Boulevard apartment complex, is accused of letting himself into her apartment, beating and raping her.
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He is charged with first-degree rape, first-degree assault and first-degree burglary with the allegation that a deadly weapon was used.
There is no question the then-48-year-old woman was brutally attacked in her south Richland apartment. The question jurors must answer is, who did it?
In his brief opening arguments, defense attorney Dan Arnold said the victim's first identification of a suspect is important. She initially picked another man -- a then-36-year-old Richland man -- from two photo montages and said she was 95 percent sure he was her attacker.
The woman described the rapist to police as being 6-foot to 6-foot-2, with long, shaggy hair, and she told 911 dispatchers that the suspect looked familiar -- like one of the maintenance people at The Villas. But, a picture of Kloepper with short hair was included in the photo montage and the woman did not choose that photo.
"There will be evidence that Cody Kloepper usually wears his hair short," Arnold said. "The evidence is she knew him and looked at the photo and specifically eliminated him. She also said the attacker was someone she had never seen before."
Arnold also noted that Kloepper was interviewed by police twice -- he drove himself to the police station -- willingly provided a DNA sample and never left town during the investigation.
Kloepper was arrested and charged in November. The woman is not named under the Herald's policy not to identify victims of sexual assaults.
Deputy Prosecutor Terry Bloor acknowledged that the victim initially identified someone else as the suspect, but charges were dropped after DNA from the tip of a bloody glove cleared him.
Tests showed Kloepper's DNA was a 1 in 440 match to the DNA found on the glove, Bloor said. Arnold later said that 11 other people in the database matched the DNA and the DNA of an unknown second male also was found in that same sample.
Bloor noted, however, that of those who might match the DNA, Kloepper was the only one who was at The Villas, had a key to the victim's apartment, lied about his whereabouts and wanted a random sexual encounter.
"This is a case that's going to involve hard evidence. That's going to be the key," Bloor said. "The hard evidence doesn't lie and doesn't make mistakes."
Kloepper's story that he was at a Richland bar the night of the attack, followed a buddy home to Kennewick around midnight, then went to The Villas and crashed in a vacant apartment doesn't match the facts, Bloor said.
Investigators have cellphone and computer records that show Kloepper was at home looking at Craigslist on the internet at 11:30 p.m. searching the "men for men" ads. He then talked to a man identified as "biprof99336" and arranged to meet him at Albertson's in Pasco between midnight and 1 a.m., Bloor said.
The man Kloepper met is expected to testify that he turned Kloepper down for sex because Kloepper was too drunk and too pushy, Bloor said.
The rape victim, who lived alone in a two-bedroom apartment, was attacked at 4 a.m. Dec. 5, 2009, when she got up and started making coffee in her kitchen. She said she heard somebody behind her, turned around and saw a man with a metal bar coming at her.
She was hit in the head repeatedly, and when she asked the man why he was doing this, he said because Obama was elected president, she said. The woman said she asked him a second time and he said it was because her door was unlocked, but she said it wasn't.
She ran into her living room while holding her arms behind her head to try to deflect the blows, she said.
"I figured if I was going to lose something, I could lose my arms, but I didn't want to lose my brain functions," she said.
She then struggled with him in the living room, trying to get the bar away from him.
"I was just doing anything I could to stay alive. He was hitting me so many times," she said. "... I told him, 'If you're going to rape me, just go ahead and do it.' I thought he would stop beating me."
The woman said she was told to get down on her knees and he sexually assaulted her. He left her and she said she heard water running but didn't see him or hear him leave. After waiting for a few minutes under a blanket that he placed over her, she called 911.
Jurors listened to the 911 call and heard the woman describing how she had been beaten badly, repeatedly asking for help and saying she was afraid the attacker would return.
The woman ended up being treated at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane.
She had 43 stitches on her head and suffered a shattered right arm and broken left wrist.
Bloor asked the woman why she didn't pick Kloepper out of the photo montage, and the woman said he didn't have long hair in the photo and he didn't look right to her.
Bloor told jurors that a co-worker of Kloepper's will testify that when he saw him at the apartments at 8:30 a.m., he had long hair, but by the time police talked to him and took his picture at 3:45 p.m., Kloepper had cut his hair.
The trial is expected to last a week. The jury of seven men and six women, which includes one alternate, was seated Monday.