By Walt Hunter
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Taking the stand in a Justice Center courtroom, a seven-year-old girl testified face to face against her alleged attacker, accused of abducting her from a West Philadelphia elementary classroom in January, 2013, holding her captive, blindfolded under a bed for 19 hours, before she was released wearing only a t-shirt in the freezing darkness.
Speaking with a quiet, clear voice that filled the standing room only courtroom, the little girl,only five-years-old at the time of the attack, testified how Christina Regusters lured her from the classroom saying, “I’m picking you up,c’mon.
I though it was my mom.”
As jury members clutched tissues to wipe away tears, she continued, “I was blindfolded, somebody told me to get under the bed.”
“Did anything bad happen to you in the house?” asked prosecutor Erin O’Brien.
“I don’t remember, I just remember hurting.”
Finally, she described being taken to the Upper Darby Playground where she was found, shivering and crying, by a Good Samaritan, who bundled her in his jacket, and called police.
“Did you call out to him?,” O’Brien asked.
“What did you say to him?”
Attorney Tom Kline, who represents the little girl and her family, called her testimony “courageous.”
Defense Attorney Fred Harrison, who like the prosecutor is bound by a “gag order”, did not conduct a cross examination of the little girl, following her 35 minutes of testimony.
The seven-year-old answered “I don’t remember” dozens of times in response to the prosecutor’s questions about specific details and did not identify Regusters in court as her attacker.
The prosecution however has additional interviews with the little girl in which she provides details that are part of the evidence.
Earlier in the day, the girl’s mother testified.
Regusters has pleaded not guilty.
The trial, which began with opening arguments Monday, is expected to continue for approximately two weeks.
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