by Matt Rosenberg August 8th, 2013
A Seattle man charged in April of 2011 with raping a woman when they were both patients in the mental health unit of St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way was acquitted this August 1 more than two years later by a jury in King County Superior Court. The acquittal came within less than 24 hours after the three-week trial ended in the Kent courtroom of Judge Suzanne Parisien. When Eddie Lawrence Greadington, 50, was originally charged by King County prosecutors with second-degree rape, the story garnered coverage from local and regional newspapers, plus radio and TV. But though acquittals and other case developments in King County are trackable through free online public records, at this writing Greadington’s exoneration by a jury of his peers has gone otherwise unreported.
Both Had Been Under Duress
Additionally, publicly-available King County audio tapes of the trial reveal through in-session court comments by Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Stephanie Knightlinger the previously unreported details that both Greadington and the alleged victim separately before checking in to the unit had each attempted suicide. In Greadington’s case this was by trying to jump off a bridge. Knightlinger noted the alleged victim had “attempted to take her own life” and was “struggling with her sexuality, having loved a woman” but still feeling love for her husband. Knightlinger at the trial’s close argued Greadington saw the alleged victim “as someone he could prey on” and believed he could “show her what a real man was.”
County prosecutors in the April 2011 charging papers alleged Greadington had on April 25, the day after he was admitted, in a St. Francis mental health unit group therapy discussion room with no one else present, approached the alleged victim, a south King County resident now 40 years old. After making sexually-charged comments, they charged that he threatened to re-open a recent neck artery wound of hers if she did not come with him. He allegedly gripped her hair forcefully and compelled her to come to his private room’s attached bathroom, where the state alleged he anally raped her for five to seven minutes, causing anal bleeding.
Audio-taped Trial Proceedings Reveal Defendant’s Unreported Story
However at trial – particularly under cross-examination by Knightlinger on July 31 – Greadington related a very different version of events. He claimed that the alleged victim had in fact come on to him, exposing her right breast in the group therapy room, then made sexually-charged comments and went to his room, where, he said, she suddenly appeared naked from the waist down in his bathroom and asked him to perform anal intercourse on her, which he did.
Testifying in a voice often loud, angry and impassioned – which prompted repeated warnings from Judge Parisien not to yell – Greadington stressed to the prosecution and to the jury that although he was not even initially interested, the sex did occur but was strictly consensual. He emphasized that he would not lie in court.
Trial audio tapes show that under cross-examination by county prosecutor Knightlinger, Greadington took control and was able to shape his message to the jury very clearly. He concluded in part by stating, “I just an old country boy. I believe in God, and he will serve justice….I wouldn’t sit here in front of this courtroom and all you people and…try to come with something slick….I’m 50 years old and I don’t raise my kids like that. I’m not the greatest father, I can admit that. I’m not the greatest husband, I can admit that. But I ain’t never come in this courtroom and start being no liar….That woman (the alleged victim) didn’t tell you the truth.”
Defense: Burden of Proof Not Met
Greadington’s public defender Dan Pelka emphasized in his closing argument that the prosecution’s burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt “is a high standard” and had not been met. Not only was Greadington’s version of events credible, Pelka asserted, but the documented claim by the alleged victim that she had suffered rectal bleeding as a result of the anal sex was not corroborated by physical evidence; there was no blood on the underwear she put back on after the encounter and an anal swab by hospital staff revealed semen but not blood, Pelka told the jury, citing earlier testimony from hospital personnel.
Pelka added that what transpired was in fact a voluntary and consensual act between two people who were at their “lowest”. It wasn’t advisable, and prompted regrets, Pelka asserted, but it was consensual.
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The jury recessed to begin deliberations at 2:43 p.m. on July 31 and resumed at 9:08 a.m. the next morning. By 10:58 a.m. they had returned the verdict of not guilty, according to case records. The jury was not individually polled by the judge. Attempts to reach the foreman and the alleged victim were not successful. However, Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, said, “We felt that this was a case that needed to be heard by a jury. We found the victim’s statement credible. Although we disagree with the verdict, we respect the jury’s decision.”
According to court records, Greadington has prior criminal convictions for unlawful imprisonment, possession of stolen property in the first degree, attempting to elude police, assault in the fourth degree, taking a motor vehicle, theft in the third degree, and three more for criminal trespass in the first degree. The convictions span from 1984 to 2011. His profession is carpentry, according to trial proceedings. His last known address according to court records, is in the 4700 block of 32nd Ave. S. in Seattle.
The rape trial began 26 months after charges were filed. There were numerous continuances granted at the request of Greadington’s attorneys as they sought to prepare his case. At two points during the lead-up to trial, the alleged victim wrote brief notes to the judge, included in the case file, urging no further delays and a prompt start to the trial. The second such note, dated June 6 of this year, read, “this trial has been rescheduled several times. The defendant’s attorney has used every trick in the book. I would like to see some closer (sic) at this point. It has been over two years.” The trial did start the following month.