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  • Sofia Rivera, reporter

Albert Wilson’s Hearing for New Trial

*Trigger warning - this story contains sexual assault*

In his 2019 trial, Albert Wilson, an African American student at the University of Kansas and Wichita native, was sentenced to more than 12 years in prison after a mostly white female jury found him guilty. He was found guilty of raping a then 17 year old white female, despite a lack of DNA evidence implying a rape occured.

The pair were said to have met up at a well known bar near the University of Kansas called "The Hawk" on Sept. 10, 2016. They were seen kissing and dancing. Wilson then asked the alleged victim if she wanted to head back to his apartment, an estimated five minute walk, and she agreed.

According to Wilson's account, once they reached Wilson’s apartment, he received a text message and call from one of his friends at the bar and they decided to head back. During their time together at his apartment, there were no clothes removed and no action beyond kissing had taken place.

After they arrived at The Hawk, Wilson reunited with his friends and the young women found her cousin.

During his two-day hearing that started on Nov. 2 of this year, Wilson’s attorneys were set to prove that he was denied effective counsel in order to land him a new trial. It was said by Wilson’s new attorneys, Michael Whalen and Josh Dubin, that his former attorney, Forrest Lowry from his 2018 trial, could have used several pieces of evidence presented in the Douglas County District Court during the hearing.

Whalen and Dubin centralized on Lowry’s lack of objections to the prosecution’s witness testimony along with his declined opportunities for cross examination.

The duo made a point on how the alleged victim claimed she suffered from social anxiety and depression precisely because of the incident when psychological reports detailed her prescription medication use for depression was prior to the alleged incident.

Additionally, the alleged victim’s phone contained photographs portraying her as socializing with her friends shortly after the alleged incident occurred. Once Whalen and Dubin introduced the 17 photographs taken from her phone, they pointed out how this contradicted with her original claims of being afraid in crowds after the alleged incident occurred as well as stating how the alleged victim’s phone was available to Lowery yet none of the photographs or text messages were used for the defense as evidence.

Wilson’s attorneys then questioned Lowry on his choice of a specific juror who notified the court previous to the trial that she had past experience dealing with sexual assault within her family and would likely be very displeased with the evidence.

Dr. John Spiridigliozzie, the forensic psychologist who diagnosed the alleged victim with PTSD on the grounds of her self-reported symptoms, testified that his psychological report and trial testimony would have differed based upon the evidence presented by Wilson’s new attorney’s indicating that she was potentially not telling the truth.

The state has yet to make a ruling.

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