Woman testifies in sexual assault trial

Brent Clement waits for testimony to begin Tuesday in his week-long criminal sexual conduct and assault trial in Dickinson County Circuit Court. (Nikki Younk/Daily News photo)

IRON MOUNTAIN — Two theories began to emerge Tuesday in Dickinson County Circuit Court on how a woman ended up seriously injured in a wooded area on Kingsford’s south side on a stormy night last June.

Prosecutors believe the woman’s then-boyfriend, 33-year-old Brent Thomas Clement, and their housemate, 45-year-old Kenneth Robert Parent, beat her “beyond recognition” and raped her after she and Clement got into an argument about methamphetamine and he reportedly laced her injection of Suboxone with methamphetamine. 

But defense attorneys Gregory Seibold and Michael Scholke claim there is “overwhelming reasonable doubt” that Clement and Parent caused the injuries, as the woman was under the influence of multiple drugs at the time and admitted to not remembering certain details of the incident. She had mentioned wanting to go to the Menominee River to commit suicide, taking a route that would have led her through the very woods where she was found at the bottom of a steep, rock- and brush-covered hill, they said.

Her injuries could have been caused by falling down that hill, and any evidence of a sexual assault could be explained by consensual sex with Clement the day before the incident, defense attorneys argued.

However, a paramedic testified Tuesday he believed the woman’s injuries were inconsistent with a fall through the woods.

Kenneth Parent, with defense attorney Michael Scholke at right, wait for testimony to begin Tuesday in the week-long criminal sexual conduct and assault trial in Dickinson County Circuit Court. (Nikki Younk/Daily News photo)

Clement and Parent, both Kingsford residents, are on trial this week on charges of criminal sexual conduct-first degree, a felony punishable by life or any term of years in prison, and assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder or by strangulation, a 10-year felony.

Clement’s habitual offender-fourth status increases the maximum penalty to life on both charges, while Parent’s habitual offender-second status increases each maximum penalty by 1.5 times.

The defendants may be convicted for either committing the crimes or intentionally assisting the other in committing the crimes.

The woman testified Tuesday that she, Clement and Parent had been using Adderall the weekend of June 10 and 11 at their Lyman Street home in Kingsford. She and Clement also used Suboxone, and had consensual sex the evening of June 10, she said.

She went out June 11 with her mother to Walmart to buy hair dye, she said. But when she returned, she said Clement accused her of going out to search for methamphetamine in violation of their pact to not do that particular drug. 

The argument continued when Clement thought she was doing methamphetamine in the bathroom while she claimed she was dying her hair. 

At one point, Clement prepared injections of Suboxone for himself and the woman, though she said she wasn’t watching him the entire time. She testified she felt shaky and sick after injecting the substance, and believed Clement gave her methamphetamine without her knowledge. 

When Clement told her to leave or go sleep in another bedroom, she said she had enough of the argument, became depressed and took a large number of her prescribed bipolar medications before leaving the house. 

She said she saw Parent on the way out of the house and apologized to him for arguing with Clement.

As she was walking down the street in a thunderstorm, she turned and saw Clement and Parent behind her. She thought they had come to bring her home, but instead they dragged her into the woods, pushed her face into the ground, spit on her, and called her names, she said.

She testified she fought with them as they hit, kicked, bit and sexually assaulted her. She went in and out of consciousness and didn’t know which one raped her. 

She remembered screaming for help and waking up at U.P. Health Systems-Marquette, but had little to no memory of being found, being in an ambulance or being at Dickinson County Memorial Hospital.

Although she couldn’t remember some details or certain things she told police, she said she knows the incident was real and she has no reason to falsely accuse Clement and Parent.

On cross examination, she said Clement had never been physically abusive toward her in the past.

Denise Brown, a neighbor on Lyman Street, recalled waking up that night during a thunderstorm to hear a female voice crying and pleading and a strong male voice talking back to her. She testified she didn’t hear any words and never heard a second male voice. 

Another neighbor, Les Beauchamp, testified he woke up that night to a moaning sound unlike anything he had ever heard. He contacted the Kingsford Public Safety Department and guided officers to the area where they found the woman alone, face-up, clothed, not wearing shoes or socks, writhing in the mud and kicking at brush and ground with her heels. 

The woman about a month later returned to Beauchamp’s residence and asked for details about that night, including if she was dressed or not, he said.

Greg Mattas, one of the paramedics who responded to the incident, testified officers and ambulance personnel had to restrain the woman because she was thrashing around and combative. 

He observed bruising on her face, eyes and neck, but no blood loss. After cutting away her outer clothing, he saw more bruises on her shoulders, inner thighs and top of her hips. 

Her injuries didn’t appear to be consistent with a fall, Mattas said, because her clothes weren’t torn, she didn’t have abrasions on her elbows or knees, she didn’t have any long bone fractures, and she had no bruises on her front or back.

However, defense attorneys questioned Mattas’ qualifications to determine cause of injuries.

The prosecution, consisting of Dickinson County Prosecutor Lisa Richards and Dickinson County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Kristin Kass, was scheduled to continue its case this morning. Up to 23 witnesses may testify.