The crime happened a year and a half ago. The verdict came after just two hours of deliberation.
A jury of twelve found David Mbulu guilty of all charges including attempted murder and accomplice to gross sexual imposition. He was also found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit gross sexual imposition.
On the last day of his trial, the jury heard closing arguments from both sides.
The prosecution pointed out that there were inconsistencies in Mbulu’s testimony. While Mbulu admitted to hitting the victim in the head with a car jack, he said he sat in the car while she was sexually assaulted by his co-defendant. Mbulu testified that he realized the assault was taking place when he got out to get his car keys from the co-defendant.
However, prosecutor Nathan Madden pointed out that Mbulu had previously told authorities he got in his car and drove a short distance before getting out and witnessing the sexual assault. This would mean Mbulu had his car keys while the assault was taking place.
In her closing, defense attorney, Misty Nehring, also noted inconsistencies in the victim’s testimony. For instance, the victim testified that the attack had taken between 30 minutes to an hour. However, Nehring used cell phone records to show the attack had lasted approximately five minutes.
At 1:16pm on November 20th, Mbulu sent a text message saying “Make her mad, tell her to get out”. Nehring argued that text message showed the victim was still in the car at that point in time and had not yet been attacked. At 1:37pm, cell phone data showed Mbulu was already back in Williston, roughly a 15 minute drive from where the attack took place near Epping.
Based on this timeline, Nehring argued the attack could have only taken 5 to 6 minutes, not between a half hour to an hour as the victim testified. Nehring argued that the victim’s perception of events was distorted. She also contended that there was a lack of intent to commit murder. Nehring conceded that Mbulu intended to injure the victim, but she also said that Mbulu never intended fatal harm to occur. This, she argued, would mean that he did not attempt to murder the victim.
In his rebuttal, Madden argued that Mbulu’s decision to remove items from the crime scene, such as the victim’s clothing, showed he was intentionally removing items that would aid in the victim’s survival in the subfreezing temperatures.
The victim was abandoned in a remote location wearing only a t-shirt. She was later found along a county highway bleeding. The good samaritan who found her drove her to the Epping Fire Hall where authorities were contacted.
Mbulu’s sentencing will take place at a later date following a pre-sentencing investigation. His co-defendant’s trial is scheduled for May.