1st of 5 women to testify at ex-NFL player's rape trial

Former NFL football player Kellen Winslow Jr., center, sits with his attorneys Marc Carlo, left, and Brian Watkins, third from left, during his rape trial, Monday, May 20, 2019, in Vista, Calif. (John Gibbins/The San Diego Union-Tribune via AP, Pool)

Prosecutors to call 1st of 5 women to testify at rape trial of Kellen Winslow Jr.; defense lawyers argue the sex was consensual.

VISTA, California — Prosecutors plan to call the first of five women to testify Tuesday at the rape trial of former NFL player Kellen Winslow Jr., whose accusers include a 54-year-old who got a ride from him hitchhiking and a 59-year-old who was homeless when they met.

Meanwhile defense lawyers argued the sex was consensual and asked jurors not to judge the married father for his "cheating ways."

The son of a Hall of Famer did not show any emotion during opening statements Monday at his trial in Southern California. His father, a former star with the San Diego Chargers, sat behind him in the courtroom and did not react as the accusations were discussed.

The younger Winslow also is charged with raping a 17-year-old girl when he was in college.

"Mr. Winslow, the defendant in this case, has been given much but it was not enough," prosecutor Dan Owens told the jury. "He took what he wanted."

Winslow has pleaded not guilty to 12 counts and could face life in prison if convicted.

His attorney, Brian Watkins, urged jurors not to be swayed by public opinion and to look at the evidence or "lack of it."

Winslow has never hidden that he had consensual sexual relations with the women, the lawyer said. He also disputed the prosecution's account that the women did not know Winslow was a former football player.

Winslow has lived a "very uncommon life" that has been difficult, Watkins told jurors. "When you're in the spotlight people want things from you," he said.

Winslow was arrested in 2018 after authorities said they found evidence linking him to two break-ins at the home of a 71-year-old woman and an 86-year-old woman several days later in the California beach town of Encinitas, his hometown north of San Diego. Those charges were dismissed by a judge at a preliminary hearing last July.

After posting bail, Winslow was arrested again on charges of raping the two women.

The 54-year-old was hitchhiking on March 17 when Winslow offered her a ride, prosecutors said, and then attacked her in a parking lot behind a shopping center. Prosecutors say he threatened to kill her if she said anything.

"She was too scared to scream," Owens told jurors.

She reported the incident four days later but refused to be examined. Instead, she gave authorities the blood-stained pants she said she had been wearing. Owens said DNA tests found traces of Winslow's semen.

Winslow later befriended a 59-year-old homeless woman who said he sodomized her in May 2018, Owens said.

Watkins said Winslow was repeatedly unfaithful to his wife, but the sex was consensual. He asked jurors not to judge his cheating.

"It's wrong. It's immoral, but it is not illegal," Watkins said.

Watkins contended the women were trying to prey on Winslow amid news coverage of the rape allegations and that their accounts and descriptions have been inconsistent.

The wife of a Marine reported being raped by Winslow when she was a 17-year-old high school senior in 2003. She said she met him when he was home for the summer from the University of Miami.

While Winslow was out on $2 million bail, he was arrested again for lewd conduct after a 77-year-old woman at a gym said he exposed himself to her on two occasions and masturbated next to her in a hot tub in February. He has been jailed since without bail.

Drafted No. 6 overall in 2004 by Cleveland, Winslow broke his right leg in his rookie season then sustained a serious right knee injury in a motorcycle accident that offseason.

He played for Cleveland, Tampa Bay, New England and the New York Jets. His career ended after he was suspended in 2013 while with the Jets for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy.

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