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Woman’s medical condition will be key issue in Niagara Falls rape trial

LOCKPORT – Testimony began Wednesday in the trial of a Niagara Falls man accused of brutally raping a 66-year-old woman in her home last year.

Vincent Bullard-Daniel, 51, of 21st Street, faces a potential life prison sentence if he is convicted of predatory sexual assault. He also was indicted on a charge of first-degree burglary as a sexually motivated felony. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Niagara County Court in March 2015.

In his opening statement, Assistant District Attorney Robert A. Zucco said DNA testing showed semen mixed with the alleged victim’s blood in droplets collected all over the 22nd Street apartment where the incident occurred on the early hours of Feb. 11, 2015. He said the chances were “10 with 25 to 27 zeroes” that the sperm came from Bullard-Daniel.

Zucco said the woman was raped on the floor beside her bed with “painful, brutal force.” He said the victim needed surgery to repair her injuries.

Also, a sock with the woman’s blood on it was found on the floor of Bullard-Daniel’s bedroom, and his live-in girlfriend told police that Bullard-Daniel left and took her car that night after she was asleep.

There also is surveillance video from the Center Court Market in the Falls that Zucco said showed Bullard-Daniel buying a beer there that night while wearing the same blue Nike sneakers police found in a puddle of water in his apartment that snowy night.

The sneakers matched footprints found in the snow leading from the back door of the woman’s apartment to a parking lot, but Assistant Public Defender Christopher A. Privateer told the jury that the woman told police her attacker left through the front door.

Privateer said the alleged victim’s injuries didn’t necessarily imply forcible intercourse.

Zucco said the alleged victim knew Bullard-Daniel as the twin brother of a man who had worked on her car. Bullard-Daniel had visited the home several times and had done some electrical work. In the two months leading up to the alleged rape, the woman had called police on Bullard-Daniel several times, complaining that he stole several items from the apartment, including a gun.

Zucco said that on the night of the alleged attack, Bullard-Daniel forced his way into the apartment and said, “I will show you for filing those police reports.”

Privateer said the calls to police often were delayed and the reports were unreliable. He said that on one occasion, police found that the woman was so drunk that they confiscated guns from her apartment to make sure she didn’t come to any harm. He told the jury, “it is for you to consider what she’s saying and why she’s saying it, and whether any of it can be believed.”

Judge Matthew J. Murphy III is presiding over the trial, which is expected to last until the middle of next week.