Quick-Change Artist Beats Conviction, at First

This time, the prosecution was more careful in how they put together the evidence. The case would be limited to seven women who swore they did not have consensual sex with Marsalis after the alleged rape. And there was something else.

"We also had more evidence about Mr. Marsalis' scheme," Khan said.

Lab results came back on a substance found in a syringe in Marsalis's old EMT equipment. It was identified as liquid Benadryl. Authorities wondered if they had found a date-rape drug.

"Liquid Benadryl was odorless, it was colorless, it was precisely the sort of thing that someone could put in a person's drink," Khan said.

But if Marsalis had drugged seven separate women -- why were there no eyewitnesses?

"Some unbiased bystander, good Samaritan, would have seen this," said Kathleen Martin, who joined the defense team for the second trial. "Not one of these women went to the emergency room and said, 'Take my blood, I think I've been drugged.' None of them did that."

Perhaps most damaging, even though none of the seven women said they willingly had sex with Marsalis after the alleged rape, they did stay in touch with him.

"We have a total of seven women, all of which have contact with him afterwards, from weekends, to movies, to lunches, to dinners, to dates, to gifts," Martin said.

When the new case went to trial in May 2007, The defense argued that the sex was all consensual, and that the idea of being drugged and date-raped never occurred to Marsalis' accusers until investigators came calling, looking for victims. The defense also argued that the women were acting out of anger after they learned that "Dr. Jeff" was no doctor.

"Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned," Martin said. "'No one's going to make a fool out of me...' and they jump on that bandwagon to say, 'I usually don't have a one-night stand, but I did in that circumstance, and I feel uncomfortable with it. But now I know why I did it, because maybe it was drugs...'"

McDevitt said investigators did not need to persuade the women to press charges.

"There's no truth to the fact that we planted any seed or, or convinced anyone to come forward," he said.

But despite the women's willingness to go public with something so personal, once again the jury found the accusers hard to believe.

In his second trial, Marsalis was not found guilty of rape June 13, 2007. He was found guilty on two lesser counts of sexual assault. It offered little solace for his accusers.

"Twenty-four people in Philadelphia had an opportunity to listen to all the evidence," Hexstall said. "All agreed that Jeffrey's not a rapist."

But there was still one woman a jury hadn't heard. She says there's no way she would ever have consented to sex with Jeff Marsalis. And she says there was a very clear reason why.

The woman -- she asked to be called "Jody" to protect her identity -- was new to Sun Valley, Idaho, when she met Marsalis.

In the summer of 2005, after he was first charged with rape in Philadelphia but before his trials, Marsalis moved into a Sun Valley apartment. Despite being an accused rapist, he landed a job as a security guard at an employee's dorm at the Sun Valley resort.

"He was a security guard," said Jody, whose sister introduced her to Marsalis. "Uh, he had all the keys to the rooms and that's when I had met him."

Jody said she was eager to get to know the local nightlife. When she and Marsalis talked about going out one Saturday, she agreed.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...