Feb. 24-A Westmoreland County prosecutor said Tuesday investigators found DNA evidence that links a Greensburg man to what police contend was the rape of an unconscious woman in a city home in 2019.
Testimony in the rape and sexual assault trial of Emmanuel Lebbie, 25, is expected to begin Wednesday before Common Pleas Judge Christopher Feliciani. Prosecutors contend Lebbie forced himself on a woman who passed out on a bed during a party.
"The defendant was indeed in that bedroom and left his DNA behind," Assistant District Attorney John Petrush said.
Lebbie, prosecutors contend, attended the party with several friends and co-workers and was left behind in a Greensburg home that night as others continued drinking in a local bar. Lebbie was asleep on a living room couch while a woman was put to bed by a male friend and left behind a closed door, Petrush told jurors.
He said when the group returned in the early morning hours of Sept. 29, 2019, Lebbie and the woman were where they were originally left. Petrush told jurors a witness claimed he later walked outside to socialize with friends and about 15 minutes later discovered Lebbie had disappeared and was eventually found in the bedroom, behind a locked door and near the unconscious woman with his pants and underwear around his ankles.
The woman told police that, when she awoke, she suspected she had been raped. Medical tests performed at a local hospital confirmed there was evidence of a sexual encounter, according to the prosecution.
Police questioned Lebbie, who claimed he never entered the bedroom, Petrush said.
Defense attorney Owen Seman told jurors Lebbie continues to deny the rape allegations.
Seman, in his opening statement to the jury, did not address the potential presence of DNA evidence but suggested witness testimony was unreliable and questioned whether the woman was actually unconscious.
"There are a lot of gray areas and question marks about what happened. People's recollection may not be as accurate as they want you to believe, and if she was unconscious, would she have been left alone?" Seman asked jurors.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, email@example.com or via Twitter .