A year and a half ago, a woman was found bleeding and wearing only a T-shirt along a county road in Epping. Today, both the defendant and victim took the stand.
In November, 2015, the defendant, David Mbulu, the co-defendant Jean-Michael Kisi, and the victim, whose name is being withheld, drove to Minot from Williston so that the victim could cash a check.
The three booked two rooms at an area motel and stayed overnight. However, the victim’s card was declined and the three left without paying.
Tensions were high on the drive back to Williston, in part because of the inability to pay for the motel room. After a verbal argument, the Kisi pulled the car over in an isolated area in Epping. The victim was then ordered out of the car.
She testified that the defendant, Mbulu, choked her and struck her with a car jack multiple times. She also said Mbulu restrained her while Kisi sexually assaulted her.
Mbulu then took the stand. He said during an argument inside the vehicle, the victim pulled his hair. He ordered her out of the car and a confrontation ensued. Mbulu admitted to attempting to choke the victim. He also admitted to striking her multiple times with a car jack.
However, Mbulu testified that he then returned to the vehicle. He remained inside the car until he got out to look for his keys. It was only then, according to Mbulu’s testimony, that he saw Kisi assaulting the victim.
After the attack, the defendant and co-defendant drove off and left the victim behind. Mbulu says the pair drove back a short time later but by the time, they returned, the victim was gone. On the stand, Mbulu says in hindsight, he feels like a terrible person. He also testified that he was not attempting to kill the victim.
Mbulu has been charged with four felonies, including attempted murder.
The trial of his co-defendant, Jean-Michael Kisi, is scheduled to take place in May.