At rape trial of Illinois basketball star Terrence Shannon, jury hears from accuser's friend, Kansas player

Jonathan Bullington, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Basketball

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Prosecutors rested their case Wednesday in the rape trial of Terrence Shannon Jr. as jurors heard testimony from his accuser’s best friend and from a second-team All-American on the University of Kansas men’s basketball team, both of whom were at the crowded bar near KU’s campus the night of the alleged assault.

Shannon, a Chicago native and University of Illinois men’s basketball standout, faces one count of rape or an alternative count of aggravated sexual battery, also a felony. He has denied the allegations, which stem from a September trip he and two others took to Lawrence to watch an Illini-Jayhawks football game.

His NBA hopes — some prognosticators believe he could be a first-round pick in this month’s draft — likely hinge on the outcome of a trial that is scheduled to conclude two weeks before the NBA draft.

Day three of the trial also included testimony from a forensic scientist with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, whose report from the case found no male DNA or “male haplotype” in tests of swabs taken from the accuser’s internal and external vaginal areas, inner thigh and buttocks.

Her report notes an “insufficient amount of male DNA” in samples taken from the woman’s underwear, though she told jurors Wednesday that those levels were essentially too low to say conclusively whether they were even DNA.

The day began with testimony from the accuser’s 19-year-old best friend and roommate, who gave Douglas County jurors a now-familiar recap of the fateful night. She said she was next to Shannon’s accuser as they tried to exit the crowded basement bar area of the Jayhawk Cafe called the Martini Room.

At the exit door, she said, Shannon’s accuser told her about a cute boy who waved her over. The friend said she encouraged her to go back and talk to him.

“I figured it would make her night more fun,” she told jurors.


The friend testified that she did not see the alleged assault take place and only realized later that night that her roommate’s urgent request to leave was not because of the crowd.

The friend also said she saw Shannon grab the 18-year-old’s hand or wrist and pull her toward him. But on questioning from Shannon’s attorney, Tricia Bath, she acknowledged she did not share that detail in previous interviews with police or prosecutors.

Later in the trial, Shannon’s defense called its first witness: Kansas men’s basketball center Hunter Dickinson. He told jurors he first met Shannon on Shannon’s recruiting trip to the University of Michigan, where Dickinson played prior to transferring to Kansas.

Dickinson was with Shannon at the Martini Room that night, and he told jurors he didn’t see Shannon interact with any women.

“He seemed like he had control of himself,” Dickinson said during his testimony.

The trial was continuing Wednesday afternoon.

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