There’s no dispute that Kahlil Byers, a 24-year street person, savagely beat a 37-year-old homeless woman, going by the name Jane Doe in court, striking her anywhere from 5 to 20 times the morning of April 18 in downtown Santa Barbara. The real question for the jury is whether Byers kidnapped and raped her as well. The answer is not as obvious as it might seem and the outcome will determine whether Byers is sentenced to life imprisonment or 10 years behind bars.
According to the prosecution, Byers dragged Doe out of her downtown alcove by Garden and Carrillo streets where she slept to the parking lot of the county’s Probation Department. There, Doe told police responding to the incident, Byers repeatedly sodomized her and forced her to engage in oral copulation. However on the witness stand, Doe said she had no recollection of ever telling anyone Byers forced her to engage in oral sex and denied it ever happened. Likewise, Doe told police shortly after the arrest of Byers that they’d got the wrong person.
Byers will take the witness stand to testify that he and Doe had engaged in consensual sex, usually while smoking meth, a couple of times in the weeks before the attack. On the witness stand Doe denied ever taking meth with anyone, let alone Byers, yet her urine tested positive for the drug. Byers’s attorney Addison Steel, maintains his client and Doe got into a fight after he’d run to her alcove after breaking into a couple of downtown businesses. Doe grew angry that Byers would draw law enforcement to her spot and an argument erupted.
Paranoid from taking too much meth, Byers has admitted beating Doe. He denies kidnapping her or raping her, however. None of his DNA was found on Doe’s genitals nor any of his on hers, Steel maintained. The prosecution noted Byers had showered while at the PATH homeless shelter. The trial is expected to continue into the new year.