Jacob N. Cox Trial - Day 1

Defendant Jacob Cox, left, speaks with his attorney, William McCool, during his trial in the Walla Walla County Commissioners' meeting room on Thursday, Feb. 23.

The victim in the rape trial of Walla Walla resident Jacob N. Cox finished her two-day testimony Monday, Feb. 27, answering questions from a defense attorney trying to catch her in a mistake.

Cox, who is charged with second-degree rape, is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in June 2016 while she slept after a party at her house.

Cox Trial

Lindsay Fry, a sexual assault nurse examiner, testifies at the rape trial of Jacob Cox on Monday, Feb. 27.

He was previously convicted of the charge in 2019, but that conviction was dismissed by the Washington Court of Appeals, who ruled that Cox wasn't allowed to present certain arguments that he should have been allowed to make during his first trial.

Defense attorney William McCool questioned the victim on many details of the evening, seemingly continuing to search for inconsistencies that he began Friday.

He sometimes asked the same question more than once — worded differently — and showed open annoyance when the victim asked him to repeat a question about who helped her to bed on the night in question.

At one point, McCool asked her whether when she pushed the defendant away after waking up, she pushed his hand or his arm away, and then checked his notes after she responded.

He did get one response from the victim that could be considered inconsistent.

After the alleged sexual abuse, and after Cox left the victim’s room, the victim said she went back to bed.

At some point she woke up. McCool asked what she was wearing when she left her room, and she said a bathrobe.

This is the first time in the trial that she mentioned a bathrobe.

McCool asked whether she has ever mentioned a bathrobe before in any of her interviews with law enforcement or lawyers. She said she didn’t think so.

“Is it fair to say, today in court is the first time you have ever mentioned the bathrobe?” McCool asked.

The victim responded that she believed that was accurate.

Later on, during redirect, Walla Walla County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michelle Mulhern asked whether she was ever asked anything previously that would lead her to mention the robe, and the victim said, “No.”

In opening statements, McCool said the jury would hear testimony that the victim at some point sat on Cox’s lap.

The victim testified that she did not remember ever sitting on Cox’s lap at any time.

McCool asked her at what time during the night that happened.

The victim said she was told it happened later in the night, but she maintained she didn’t remember sitting on his lap.

She did, however, add that she didn’t disbelieve the person who told her that she did.

“I was drunk,” she said. “I would have sat on anyone’s lap.”

She said she was drunk enough at the time that it could have happened without her remembering it.

She was a little more adamant on another claim about her, though.

McCool asked whether at some point she said, “If I were into guys, I would choose you,” while pointing to Cox. She said she did not believe she said that, saying that part of the party happened earlier than the sitting-on-the-lap incident, and she remembers that conversation.

Later, McCool asked whether Cox admitted sexually assaulting her in their text conversation that occurred after the alleged rape, and the victim said no, he had not.

On Friday, jury members were read the whole text conversation aloud in court and no such admission was made.

The state’s next witness was Lindsay Fry, the sexual assault nurse examiner who examined the victim.

She explained her job, the exams she performs as a sexual assault nurse examiner and then testified about the examination she did on the victim.

During that examination, Fry asked the victim to describe what happened.

Most of the version stated in the report matched what the victim said on the stand. One discrepancy was the position in which she was lying on the bed when she said the rape occurred.

In the report, it states she was lying in a fetal position, but on the stand, she described a more stretched out position.

Fry also testified about the process of swabbing for DNA. She said she swabbed the victim and sent the sample to a lab for results. She did not testify about the lab results.

Another possible discrepancy was revealed when Fry was cross-examined.

Earlier, the victim testified she began menstruating on the date of the sexual assault. Fry’s report said she asked the victim when her last menstruation cycle began, and the victim said it started three days before the sexual assault.

The victim had testified that she either misspoke when she gave the date to Fry, or that Fry had written down the wrong date.

Fry said she doesn’t think she could have gotten that date wrong.

Next on the stand was Mellissa Jolliffe, a friend of the victim and a guest at the party.

Jolliffe testified she knew the victim was drinking — “We were drinking together,” she said — but that she did not know how many drinks the victim had.

She said she is the one who helped get the victim in bed but that the victim didn’t need the help and could have done it herself.

After the victim went to bed, Jolliffe said she started cleaning the house.

Later, the victim came out and told her that she woke up with someone touching her. Jolliffe said she asked the victim whether it was a dream, to which the victim said no.

At this point, the victim did not say who it was who touched her, Jolliffe said.

Jolliffe asked the victim whether she wanted to call the police, but at that point, the victim said no.

Later, the victim told Jolliffe she wanted to go back to bed, but said she couldn’t go into her room, “because Jacob was still in there.”

Jolliffe said this is the first time the victim indicated it was Cox who touched her.

Jolliffe’s direct testimony ended at the end of the day, and McCool is expected to cross-examine her Tuesday morning at Walla Walla County Superior Court.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The headline on this story has been changed to provide additional context about the woman's testimony.

Jeremy Burnham can be reached at jeremyburnham@wwub.com or 509-526-8321.


Jeremy covers courts, public safety and education for the Union-Bulletin. He graduated from Eastern Washington University in 2019 with a degree in journalism. He pursued a career in journalism in his 30s because he feels real, dependable news is important now more than ever. He aims to shine a light on both the good and bad that happens in the Valley. He is a big fan of all the EWU sports teams. Jeremy grew up in California but has lived in eastern Washington since 2001. When he’s not working, Jeremy loves spending time with his wife, Hanna, and their Goldendoodle, Nala. Follow Jeremy on Twitter @ub_jeremy.