CORUNNA — A Shiawassee County jury is expected to deliberate today in the case of an Owosso man accused of choking and sexually assaulting his then-girlfriend in 2019.
Craig Pakosz is accused of choking the woman and sexually assaulting her while she was unconscious. Testimony concluded Wednesday in 35th Circuit Court with witness and expert testimony. The case is expected to wrap up today with closing arguments before being sent to the jury.
The final prosecution witness, Holly Rosen, director of the Michigan State University Safe Place and a social worker, testified that due to the nature of some physical assaults, especially those involving strangulation, victims sometimes have a hard time remembering the incident.
Following Rosen’s testimony, the prosecution rested its case, and defense attorney Adam Pfeiffer laid out his case to the jury in his opening statement, which he had deferred from the first day of the trial.
“She was angry,” Pfeiffer told the jury. “She leaves the apartment, and is walking down the street. The first police car she sees, she does her best to cry as hard as she possibly can on the side of the street… The police officer pulled over to see if she was alright, and from that point on, Craig’s fate was sealed… It shows a woman filled with anger and greed, who will say whatever works best for her to achieve her goals, her motives. You’ve already heard that she’s changed her story to her advantage during police testimony.”
Pfeiffer argued the victim provided several inconsistencies in her version and timeline of events.
“She was selling his belongings the next day,” Pfeiffer said. “Selling his things that did not belong to her. This includes a Ruger rifle Pakosz had for home protection. The rifle you heard (the victim) say yesterday wasn’t in the home… This is beyond the pale. It is absurd to think a woman acting in such brazen greed and deception was the victim of sexual assault, using the police, misleading them, to achieve her own motives.”
Defense witness Michael Stever testified he saw the victim the day after the alleged assault, and did not observe any marks on her neck. He testified the victim had asked him about purchasing a rifle that belonged to Pakosz, which the victim allegedly had in her possession after Pakosz was arrested.
The victim testified Tuesday that she had not had the rifle in question in her possession, and had not tried to sell it.
Another witness was excused after numerous objections by the prosecution, and a ruling by Judge Stewart that the testimony would be hearsay and therefore inadmissible.
The defense rested, and Stewart excused the jury for the day.
The trial began Tuesday morning in circuit court. The case was scheduled to continue at 8:30 a.m. this morning with closing arguments, followed by jury instructions. The case will be sent to the jury to decide.
Pakosz was arrested Aug. 1, 2019, following a domestic situation with his ex-girlfriend, who accused him of choking her during an argument. He was charged with felony assault to do great bodily harm less than murder, and later charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct by prosecutors. He was arraigned following the arrest, when he pleaded not guilty, and has been lodged at the jail while awaiting trial.
Last week, Pakosz rejected a plea deal offered by prosecutors. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Pakosz would have pleaded to one reduced count of assault by strangulation, and the CSC-1 charge would have been dismissed. Sentencing guidelines were estimated by prosecutors at one year, seven months to three years, two months in prison, though the court was not obligated to stay within that range.
If Pakosz is convicted of the charges, he faces the possibility of consecutive sentencing.