Woman Tells of Attack

Sarah Ovaska, News & Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina), February 7, 2008

RALEIGH—The 36-year-old woman cried on the witness stand in the Wake County Courthouse on Wednesday, recalling the night more than eight years ago when she said a man broke into her Raleigh apartment and raped her.

The woman testified during the first day of the criminal trial of James Bernard Henderson, a Georgia man who was named as a suspect last year in the September 1999 crime when a DNA match led police to him. She is not being named in line with a News & Observer policy not to identify those who report sexual assaults.

Henderson, 41, is facing felony charges of first-degree forcible rape, first-degree burglary, first-degree kidnapping and first-degree forcible sexual offense.

He faces more than 90 years in prison if he is convicted of all those charges, according to court records and Superior Court Judge Henry W. Hight Jr.

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“I woke up to a vision of a man coming into my apartment with a gun,” she said.

The woman also told jurors Henderson repeatedly said he was attacking her because her forefathers raped and enslaved his ancestors. The woman is white, and Henderson is black.

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