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The Steuben Courier Advocate
  • Frysinger trial: Key witness changes story

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  • BATH | Prosecutors ran into trouble with a key witness Wednesday in the attempted rape case against Jordan Frysinger.
    Cedric Hairston, who pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment in the May 19, 2012 incident, recanted much of the testimony given in his August 2012 plea agreement.
    Hairston, who is serving five years probation, was the only apparent link the prosecution had to the claim that Frysinger had attempted to sexually assault the victim.
    But Wednesday, Hairston said he couldn't be sure whether Frysinger had made sexual contact with the victim during the incident because he was positioned behind Frysinger.
    He also claimed the victim was conscious during the incident, which contradicted testimony from his plea agreement, in which leaving the unconscious woman alone was key to the reckless endangerment charge.
    Prosecutor Michael Tantillo, the Ontario County district attorney, was increasingly hostile toward Hairston during his testimony, as it became clear that what he was saying wasn't what the prosecution was expecting to hear.
    When asked by both Tantillo and defense attorney William Easton whether he had lied to the judge in the course of his plea agreement testimony, Hairston said "Yes, sir."
    The prosecution alleges that both Frysinger and Hairston sexually assaulted a teenage girl who was incapacitated by alcohol during a post-prom party at a Keuka Lake cottage owned by Frysinger's parents, Charles and Sharon.
    Frysinger, 21, is a former Corning Hawks athlete. At the time of the arrest, he was a football player at Div. I Illinois.
    He is charged with three counts of first-degree attempted rape and one count of first-degree criminal sexual act, all felonies. The criminal sexual act charge and one of the attempted rape charges are as an accomplice to Hairston's actions.
    Hairston did testify that earlier in the evening, Frysinger said "we're gonna run train on you" to the victim, indicating himself, Hairston, and two other men. The slang phrase "run train" refers to multiple men having sex with the same woman in sequence. Hairston said he took it as a joke at the time.
    Hairston said later in the evening, after he fell asleep, Frysinger woke him up and said "we're gonna do it."
    He said that he, Frysinger, Marcus Anderson and Peter Lovecchio – a friend of Frysinger's from college – walked with the girl upstairs into a loft area where other guests were sleeping or engaging in sexual activity.
    He also acknowledged that he and Frysinger were attempting to get themselves ready to have sex with the girl, though he refused to testify about Frysinger's actual physical contact with the victim.
    He also said that later in the evening, Frysinger said "I almost f----d a corpse" – something mentioned by earlier witnesses in the trial.
    Earlier in the day, the jury heard from the victim in the case, who testified that she remembered nothing from the night of the alleged incident.
    Page 2 of 2 - The woman testified she had more than a dozen drinks over the course of about two hours, and didn't remember anything after playing "flip-cup," a drinking game, at the party.
    She said everything she knew about what happened later came from what friends told her – two conflicting stories in which she was either victim or instigator.
    The defense noted on cross-examination that it's possible to become drunk enough to "black out" – to lose memory for a period of time while remaining conscious.
    She acknowledged that something like that may have happened to her on another occasion.
    But the alleged victim insisted that had she been conscious she would never have consented to sex with either Frysinger or Hairston.
    She also admitted that she had been angry when school officials reported the alleged incident to law enforcement – she said she feared being shamed by classmates and friends over the incident. She said social media harassment forced her to leave the state after the incident was reported.
    Also on the stand Wednesday was Whitney Corby, who testified to a sequence of events similar to that presented by Tuesday's witnesses, Samantha Crane and Kyle Clarkson.
    She said a group of friends went to dinner, went to the Corning East High School prom and then went to the Frysingers' lake house.
    She said later in the evening, she awoke to see Hairston straddling the victim, and Crane attempting to intervene.
    But she stumbled on cross-examination when defense counsel brought out a copy of a May 25 statement to New York State Police in Bath.
    Most notably, her sworn statement a few days after the event said that the victim had been "giggling" throughout the incident.
    Corby said she hadn't used that word in her statement, but had tried to describe sounds the victim was making during the events. But she acknowledged she had read and signed the statement.
    She also said that in the days following the incident, Charles Frysinger had repeatedly tried to contact her on her cell phone, though she didn't answer.
    The prosecution rested its case after Hairston's testimony.
    The case will resume with the defense presenting its case at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in Steuben County Court before Judge Peter Bradstreet.

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