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Man testifies he saw woman stabbed at Lake Arlington

FORT WORTH -- A 20-year-old man testified Wednesday that he witnessed murder defendant Randy Wilson stabbing Brittany Rapoza and kicking her body into Lake Arlington.

Her decomposing body was found six days after the Aug. 14, 2007 stabbing.

The testimony by Joseph Grant came during the second day of Wilson’s murder trial in Criminal District Court No. 1. The 29-year-old man faces life in prison if convicted of Rapoza’s murder.

Grant testified that he, Wilson, Rapoza and two other women went to a small park area beside Lake Arlington late Aug. 13 or early Aug. 14. Grant said he and the two women remained in the car while Wilson and Rapoza walked down a trail toward the lake.

About 20 minutes later, Grant went to find Wilson and Rapoza and witnessed what he initially thought was a fight. As he went closer to break up the fight, however, Grant said he realized that Wilson was stabbing Rapoza with a knife.

After stabbing Rapoza what Grant estimated at 100 times, Wilson kicked the 20-year-old woman over a ledge into the lake, Grant said. He said he jumped into the water, pulled Rapoza out and attempted to help the bleeding woman over the ledge.

At some point, however, Grant said he must have dropped Rapoza. He then ran back to the car and Wilson drove him back to the home where he was staying with his stepsister.

Rapoza actually was stabbed 22 times on her legs, abdomen, back and chest, Tarrant County Deputy Medical Examiner Gary Sisler testified Wednesday. Some of the wounds would have been fatal while Rapoza might have survived other wounds if she had received medical treatment, Sisler said. She also had two superficial cuts on one arm, he said.

Sisler said Rapoza’s body wasn’t identified for nearly two months, when a forensic dentist identified her by dental records.

A few days after Rapoza was stabbed, Grant said he, his stepsister, Wilson and the two other women returned to the area where Rapoza was stabbed. Wilson removed a beer can and a bloody cigarette from the area which was marked with yellow crime scene tape, he said. Wilson also threw some red flip flops into the lake, Grant said.

Grant’s testimony Wednesday morning conflicted with that of Jenny Yeager, Wilson’s girlfriend who testified Tuesday that she and the other woman did not accompany Wilson to the lake that night. Yeager said Wilson’s clothing, shoes and glasses were covered with blood when he returned and he told her that he had stabbed Rapoza to death.

Wilson later burned his bloody shoes in a storm drainage ditch near Grant’s house, Yeager said.

DNA analyst Carolyn Van Winkle said the DNA from blood on those shoes matched DNA from a pubic hair taken from Rapoza’s body. However, the DNA match was not as conclusive as some DNA tests because the evidence was degraded, she said.

Questioned by defense attorney Warren St. John, Van Winkle acknowledged that none of the evidence she tested matched Wilson’s DNA. In fact, she said, there was no blood to test on items seized from the car Wilson was driving the night of the stabbing.