Defense attorney Grace Lee suggested that maybe it was because she was upset.
Prosecutor Amy Williams talked around the issue.
But the question as to why a Juneau woman made up allegations of domestic violence remained unanswered on Wednesday as the woman resumed the witness stand in Juneau Superior Court during the second day of trial against her alleged assailant.
“I don’t know why I did it,” Lori Funk, 37, said when the public defender asked whether she thought the allegation would result in criminal charges being brought against her boyfriend.
Funk abruptly admitted Tuesday, the first day of trial, that her live-in boyfriend Jesse H. Boone, never choked her on Dec. 5, 2012, and that she had put red marks on her own neck to feign injury. Her earlier allegation that Boone choked her on that day gave rise to a police investigation and a grand jury indictment that charged Boone with two counts of felony assault in connection to the incident.
Funk maintains that Boone did choke her in an attack at their Glacier View Trailer Park home five days later, Dec. 10, 2012, another allegation which resulted in two more felony assault charges against Boone. Boone is presently standing trial on all four charges of assault. The maximum possible penalty he could receive if convicted is 30 years in prison.
Assistant Public Defender Lee suggested during cross-examination Wednesday that Funk fabricated the story because Boone told her on Dec. 5 that he was breaking up with her and leaving her that night. Funk denied knowing that at that time, and she said she did not remember telling that to responding police officers, despite Lee saying it was noted in their reports.
Lee continued to grill her about lying under oath to both the grand jury, which handed up the indictment on Dec. 21, 2012, and to the jury hearing this case. Funk had first described the attack in detail to Williams on direct examination before she changed her story on cross examination. Lee’s final question to her Wednesday was, “Do you still expect us to believe you about Dec. 10?”
“Yes,” Funk replied.
Assistant District Attorney Williams, on the other hand, seemed to chalk up Funk’s self-admitted lie about the Dec. 5 incident to be a result of Funk either being confused by Lee’s questions or scared to confront Boone, whom Funk hasn’t seen since he was arrested. Funk told Williams that even though the Dec. 5 incident did not happen, she was still scared to return to her and Boone’s shared residence after Dec. 5 because he had choked her before and she thought he would choke her again. Williams was not allowed to question Funk about that further because Judge Philip Pallenberg sustained a defense objection regarding proper admission of ‘prior bad acts’ evidence.
Funk testified under William’s questioning that she did not want the cops to be called for the Dec. 5 incident — her mother had called them. Her mother, Patricia Funk, testified Monday that when her daughter appeared at her doorstep that night asking for help, her only condition for helping her was letting her call the police. The younger Funk agreed and was let in. The mother said she made that agreement because her daughter had been in abusive relationships before and she wanted to ensure she could provide her the help she needed by involving law enforcement.
The police officers who responded to the Dec. 5 and the Dec. 10 incidents testified on Wednesday, as did the two Bartlett Regional Hospital Emergency Room doctors who treated her. The doctor who examined her the night of Dec. 5, Dr. Alan McPherson, said under direct examination that the fresh red bruising marks he observed on both sides of Funk’s necks looked compatible with fingertips and was consistent with her story about being choked. Under cross, when asked if it was possible someone could do that to themselves, he said yes. The doctor said Funk’s breath alcohol content level was .103, which was in line with Funk’s testimony that she had been drinking that night. Funk said she was not drinking on Dec. 10. Dr. Carlton Heine, who treated Funk the night of Dec. 10, said he observed a small abrasion on her neck, which would be consistent with her story.
Prosecutors say on Dec. 10, Boone came home drunk, threw Funk to the ground and attempted to strangle her several times before she escaped. Funk said she ran to a neighbor’s house, and they called 911.
Testimony is expected to continue Thursday, but not Friday since the Judge Pallenberg will be out of town for a trial in Haines. Testimony will resume again on Monday, and the case is expected to go the jury on Tuesday.
• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.