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Deon Kitt (left) and attorney Christine Voss (June 23, 2014)

Paul Wellman

Deon Kitt (left) and attorney Christine Voss (June 23, 2014)


Isla Vista Man Accused of Rape Appears Court


A 28-year-old man accused of raping two area high school students in his Isla Vista home appeared in court Monday. Deon Kitt pleaded not guilty in April to rape by intoxication or fear, unlawful oral copulation, and rape of an intoxicated or drugged victim. A native of Canada and a former Santa Barbara City College student, Kitt was arrested April 2 after an investigation by Isla Vista Foot Patrol deputies. The case will likely go to trial later this summer.

Prosecutor Ben Ladinig says Kitt raped two women — one 17 years old and the other 18 — on a Saturday night in March in his Del Playa Drive residence. The first female was intoxicated and the second was “unconscious or asleep,” the complaint alleges. Additional counts claim Kitt committed rape and forced oral copulation against the same 18-year-old on two other occasions a month earlier.

Many details remained unclear after Monday’s hearing, which was held this week because the witness who testified — Kitt’s former roommate — is about to leave the country. On Monday, both Ladinig and public defender Christine Voss posed several questions.

Going first, Ladinig asked Kitt’s roommate if one of the victims appeared to be drunk earlier in the evening in the kitchen. The witness replied, “I don’t know,” a phrase he repeated countless times during his two-hour testimony. But Ladinig contended that the witness had told detectives that the girl appeared to be drunk earlier that night.

Ladinig presented two subpoenaed cellphone videos that the witness captured on the night of one of the incidents. Both video clips captured bedroom scenes and were very dark. In one video, a woman murmured “stop” several times followed by “please stop it” and “I don’t care.” Kitt was fully clothed and the context surrounding the video remains unclear. The witness testified that the woman had appeared to be hitting and slapping Kitt.

Later during cross-examination, Voss argued that the victim was half-asleep and was objecting to Kitt because he told her to get out of his bed. “When you were videoing this, you didn’t think you were videotaping a rape, right?” Voss asked. The witness said no, and answered a subsequent question that he would have intervened had he thought Kitt was engaging in sexual activity while the woman was telling him to stop.

A second video was taken about an hour later and depicts a woman urinating on herself. During Ladinig’s questions, the witness testified that the woman in the video was wearing just a shirt and had her underwear pulled down to her ankles. Kitt also has his pants off. “And the reason why you made this second video was why?” Ladinig asked the witness, who said that he had never seen anyone urinate on themselves from drinking too much.

“At this time did you think she was really drunk?” asked Ladinig. “Yes,” the witness responded. “Were you concerned that she may be drugged?” Ladinig asked. “Yes,” the witness repeated. The witness also testified that Kitt had told him that he was 24 years old but that he found out Kitt was actually 28 years old after he heard about the court case on the news.

After that, Ladinig brought up conversations Kitt and the witness had about “room rules.” The witness said that Kitt had sent him a text message asking the witness not to have his girlfriend sleep over every night of the week so that he could “fuck girls on the weekend or try to.” The witness also testified that he received text message that read: “can at least give me the weekend to find hoes on DP.”

During the next hour, Voss established the witnesses was aware of “text exchanges” between Kitt and the second alleged victim for a period of time up until Kitt was arrested.

Voss also asked the witness several questions about what he originally told the police. Voss argued the witness told police the girl was okay with the sex and that he had heard moaning from both parties. She further pressed the witness if he was telling the truth when he spoke to the police.

“At the time it was the truth, but now that I’ve had more time to think about it, I’m not 100 percent sure,” the witness responded.

Voss also touched on the issue of age. After some back and forth, the witness testified that he was under the impression that the girls were UCSB students because Kitt had told him he saw them at the library on campus.

Kitt has remained in custody. If convicted, he would have to register as a sex offender and could face up to 20 years in prison.

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