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Suspect, Forensic Experts Testify In DIA Sex Assault Trial

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Noel Bertrand (credit: Denver Police Dept.)

Noel Bertrand (credit: Denver Police Dept.)

DENVER (CBS4)- The suspect in the sex assault trial at Denver International Airport took the stand in his own defense on Wednesday.

Forensic experts also testified. They confirmed that the suspect’s DNA was found on the victim.

Former Marine Noel Bertrand, 27, has been charged with sexual assault. He’s accused of attacking the woman on a concourse at DIA. He met her after they both missed flights.

Bertrand spent most of his time on the stand describing his time in the U.S. Marines. He also described how he met the woman.

Bertrand said the two of them talked about their common interests while at DIA, including books. That’s when he said she gave him a provocative note.

Prosecutors are trying to convince the jury that the 22-year-old woman was brutally attacked and raped in the airport, calling it a “layover turned nightmare.” But Bertrand’s attorneys argue the acts that took place at DIA that night were consensual.

Surveillance video shows Bertrand and the woman walking together in the concourse. It doesn’t show the alleged assault that is said to have occurred 30 minutes later at a deserted gate.

DNA samples were obtained from both Bertrand and the woman after the alleged rape.

Forensic experts testified that Bertrand’s DNA, in one case saliva, was found on the victim’s face, neck and mouth. That is consistent with the testimony the victim gave on Tuesday.

She said Bertrand kept kissing her face, mouth and neck while keeping a choke hold on her and that she couldn’t fight back.

She also told the court that Bertrand had violated her with his fingers.

Bertrand’s defense team pointed out to the court that some of the DNA evidence does not conclusively point to Bertrand.

Two DPD detectives also took the stand. One of them told the court that after watching the surveillance video he noticed that dozens and dozens of people had actually walked by the area where the rape was allegedly occurring. No one stopped.

The only person seen on the tape who paused was a cleaning lady.

The victim told the court when the cleaning lady paused to see what was going on Bertrand laid on top of her to make it look like they were a couple, resting on the floor.

Prosecutors say Bertrand aggressively forced the woman into sexual acts, but the defense says the two engaged in consensual “rough sex.” They also said she never called out for help or screamed. Prosecutors said she couldn’t talk because she couldn’t breathe due to his force and an asthma attack.

Bertrand will once again take the stand at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday.

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