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Saturday, September 14, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Accused police officer to testify in his own rape trial defense

A former Spokane Police officer on trial for sexual assault intends to testify in his own defense Tuesday.

Defense attorney Rob Cossey intends to call Gordon Ennis to the witness stand, making him the last witness in the week-long trial. More than a dozen witnesses have already testified about a small party on Oct. 24, 2015. Ennis is accused of fondling a drunk officer after she went to bed.

Prosecutors wrapped up their case against Ennis on Monday after calling lead detective Brandon Armstrong to lead the jury through the investigation into what happened that night and the following days.

Armstrong testified and showed pictures of Ennis’ hands taken at Cossey’s office a day after the rape was reported to law enforcement officials on Oct. 25, 2015. They showed nails that were trimmed so short that detectives felt they couldn’t collect fingernail clippings without injuring him. The nails on the left hand appeared shorter than on the right hand.

Prosecutors intended to call Police Sgt. John Gately, who in 2015 was the president of the Spokane Police Guild. However Gately invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and declined to answer questions related to his case. He was accused of tipping Ennis about the investigation, which investigators say could have led to Ennis trimming his fingernails before detectives could collect DNA.

The first witness for the defense was Officer Doug Strosahl, who hosted the party at his home in Colbert with his then-fiance Heather Strosahl. Officer Strosahl said he didn’t remember much of the evening, since he passed out from drinking too much alcohol, but was able to establish the location of the victim about 30 minutes before she was allegedly assaulted.

Strosahl said after falling asleep around midnight, he woke up at about 2 a.m. to his wife and Ennis talking in the kitchen. He went out to greet them, and shortly after, suggested going to the victim’s room to “tease her for not being able to hold her alcohol.”

The three went to the bedroom and turned on the light. Strosahl said the woman was blinking and laughing while she sat up in the bed. She has said she doesn’t remember most of the night.

After turning off the light, Strosahl and his wife testified the alleged victim followed them into the kitchen and placed her head on Ennis’ chest. The couple then went to bed as Ennis led the woman back to the guest bedroomto be put to bed after drinking too much.

At about 3:30 a.m., the victim testified she awoke to Ennis fondling her.

After Ennis takes the stand Tuesday, Cossey intends to rest his case after calling three witness. The other witness he called was a woman at the party who is a friend of Strosahl and his wife, and who said she saw the victim dancing near Ennis and putting her arm on his legs earlier in the evening.

Jurors are expected to begin deliberations on Wednesday.

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