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Shue admits to beating victim

WORTHINGTON -- Kenneth Shue admitted to a jury on Thursday that he beat his victim last October until she was down on the floor in a fetal position. He said he beat her because she came at him with a knife. Shue is on trial in Nobles County Distr...

WORTHINGTON -- Kenneth Shue admitted to a jury on Thursday that he beat his victim last October until she was down on the floor in a fetal position.

He said he beat her because she came at him with a knife.

Shue is on trial in Nobles County District Court for allegedly kidnapping a woman and assaulting her physically and sexually. There are 16 charges against Shue, 13 of which are felonies.

"I hit her several times after I got the knife away, and I'm not proud of that," Shue admitted on the stand. "She was lying on the kitchen floor begging me not to hit her any more, and I still didn't let up."

Shue's account of the events in late October leading to his arrest was rambling and unfocused, and he was continually distracted by details, going into long explanations about trivial matters.

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Defense attorney Christina Wietzema interrupted Shue's testimony on a regular basis as he repeatedly strayed from questions. During cross-examination, Nobles County Assistant Attorney John D. Gross frequently reminded Shue to stick to answering the question he was asked.

Shue said he met the victim through a friend and was involved in a sexual relationship with her almost immediately.

"We were getting along so well, she decided to move in with me," he said.

Contradicting statements he had made to Deputy Duane Rogers during taped interviews after his arrest, Shue said he was the one that beat the victim, but denied he ever sexually abused her.

Earlier in the trial, both the victim and Shue's wife had said Shue threw the victim into his wife's bed at one point, then held them up against the wall and smeared lip balm on the victim's face.

Shue, however, said he had separated the women while they were arguing, holding them against the wall to prevent the argument from becoming physical.

"Out of a nervous habit, when I let her go (the victim) ran out of the room and grabbed some ChapStick," he said.

As she was applying the ChapStick, Shue said he bumped her arm as a joke. He said he never held the victim against her will and even asked her at one time to leave, but she didn't go.

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To explain the victim's DNA on a flashlight, which the victim said he forced inside her against her will, Shue said he and some others were in the kitchen when the electricity went out. He said he and the victim went out to the garage to get cigarettes and check fuses, and when they came back inside, she put the flashlight in her mouth to unlock the door to the house.

He had locked the house, he said, because he didn't know if they would have to leave and get cigarettes. He didn't explain why he would lock the house if there were other people present in the home. During other testimony, Shue said he normally does not lock his doors.

There were many inconsistencies in his story as he was examined and cross-examined.

He told the jury the victim introduced him to her mother as "my new boyfriend Kenny" shortly after the two met, but later said he met the victim in October for the first time but had known her mother for years.

During the taped interview, he told Rogers the victim had cut her stomach while holding a lamp as he put a new bulb in it. This same lamp was broken sometime during the victim's stay at the house. When asked about his statement to Rogers, Shue told Gross he had been talking about a different lamp, one that was very tall.

Under cross-examination, Shue admitted to putting a flashlight inside the victim, but said it was a different flashlight than the one marked as evidence and that it had been consensual.

Shue often answered questions from Gross about the taped interviews with Rogers by telling the attorney he did not remember. When Gross reminded him they had all watched videos of the interviews the day before, Shue said he had gotten bored watching the tapes.

When asked if he wanted to review the transcripts, Shue said he did, but later told Gross there was no way to prove the initials K.S. in the transcripts meant him. He said copies of the transcripts had been given to him missing pages.

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Shue explained the victim's injuries to her chin by telling the jury she had fallen in the bathroom trying to reach her meth pipe, and the scratches under her chin shaped like the letter K may have been from a necklace she had removed.

When asked why Shue didn't give Rogers those explanations during the interviews, Shue told Gross he hadn't told Rogers because it was none of his business.

Of the victim's knife attack on Shue, he told the court, "She stabbed me directly in the stomach. It went in to the hilt."

He later testified there was no blood when she stabbed him. A Nobles County jailer testified there were no cuts or wounds on Shue's abdomen when he was booked.

Wietzema called Dr. Robert Harms, an emergency physician from Sioux Valley Hospital who had treated the victim, as a witness. Harms testified he has been an emergency physician for 22 years and "this is the first time I've seen injuries of this magnitude" in an assault case.

Harms said he did not find evidence of a sexual assault when he examined the victim, but that this was not an unusual occurrence in sexual assault victims.

"More times during a sexual assault exam you do not find injuries than the amount of times you do," Harms said.

Court reconvenes at 9 a.m. today, when closing arguments will be offered by both the prosecution and the defense before the jury goes into deliberation. A verdict is expected sometime today.

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