BOULDER, Colo. –
Asked Wednesday what was going through her mind when Diego Olmos Alcalde held her down and choked her nearly nine years ago, Ann Marie Taylor’s eyes reddened and swelled with tears.
“I was thinking, I didn’t want to die,” said Taylor, 29, who testified in Boulder County District Court during a motions hearings in Alcalde’s homicide case.
Alcalde, 39, was arrested last year on suspicion of fatally beating and raping University of Colorado student Susannah Chase, 23, in December 1997. He was connected to the killing when his DNA — submitted to a national database after he was convicted in Wyoming of kidnapping Taylor on Aug. 10, 2000 — matched evidence from the Boulder crime scene.
Taylor’s case is among five reported assaults involving Alcalde that prosecutors are arguing be allowed during his homicide trial, scheduled for June. Judge James C. Klein hasn’t yet ruled on any of the more than 30 motions being heard in the case this week.
Taylor, who spoke publicly about her encounter with Alcalde for the first time since his arrest in the Chase case, winced and then glared at Alcalde before opening up about the attack.
“I would say that my encounter with (Alcalde) left me with questions as to why and what he wanted,” Taylor said when asked by a defense attorney if Alcalde ever indicated that he was going to kill or rape her. “Whether he wanted to rob me or hurt me or rape me or kill me — you’re left with only a few options when a stranger attacks you.”
Taylor said she was headed to her home in Cheyenne, Wyo., after a late night out when Alcalde started following her in his car. She said he was on her bumper all the way to her apartment and blocked her car when she parked. He got out of his vehicle, she said, and came toward her, acting drunk.
“He was talking with slurred speech and was kind of wobbly on his feet,” she said, recalling that Alcalde said something like, “I’m sorry, I’ve been drinking, and I can’t find my hotel.”
Taylor said she was about to ask if he was staying at the Holiday Inn when he lunged at her.
“He snapped,” she said, snapping her fingers. “He wasn’t disoriented anymore, and he was on top of me.”
Taylor said Alcalde went straight for her throat and shoved her back into her car. She said she couldn’t breathe or scream but remembered her car keys and pressed the horn button.
Alcalde said, “You just had to go and do that, didn’t you,” according to Taylor. Then he yanked her from the car by her arms and hair, she said, and dragged her along the pavement. Taylor said she screamed for help, and Alcalde again muffled her by squeezing her neck.
“I tried to grab him in the genital area,” she said. “I was trying to hurt him.”
Alcalde stopped when Taylor’s family emerged from their apartment to investigate the commotion, she said. He initially got away, but police found and arrested him about 10 minutes later. He was convicted later that year.
According to court documents, Alcalde told investigators he was drunk, lost and angry because Taylor was “snotty.” Alcalde said he called her a derogatory name, and she honked her horn, so he “flipped out” and “put her on the ground” but didn’t intend to hurt her.
Alcalde has denied wrongdoing in all of the five cases prosecutors want to discuss during trial, and he’s repeatedly denied killing Chase. He seemed emotionless Wednesday during testimony from Taylor and a former friend, who said Alcalde repeatedly raped her in 1997 — about six months before Chase was killed.
That woman, whose name the Camera isn’t publishing because of its policy not to identify sex-assault victims, said she met Alcalde at age 15 when she became best friends with his sister. She said she had run away from home and was staying at Alcalde’s parents’ house when she agreed to spend the day with Alcalde — who, she said, was like a “brother.”
Alcalde drove the teen to the mountains, she said, and they got a hotel room near Morrison. There, the woman said, he forced her to have sex before snorting cocaine. The teen said she asked Alcalde to take her home, and he instead drove her to his apartment. There, she said, he raped her four more times.
After the final assault, she said, Alcalde held a large knife to his neck and said, “he couldn’t believe he had done what he had done to me and he wanted to kill himself for doing it.”
When Alcalde eventually dropped the teen off at his parents’ home, the woman said, Alcalde’s sister confronted him and told him he “was in so much trouble.” The woman testified that Alcalde’s sister said, “I know what you did.”
The woman said she reported the assault to police the next day and underwent a rape examination at Denver General Hospital. But the case never went forward, and prosecutors have been unable to find a police report on the alleged assault.