NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — As he and his new boyfriend lay naked on a bed in a nondescript dormitory room at Rutgers University, the man sensed he was being spied on.
"I just happened to glance over," the man, now a nervous and heavily shielded star witness, told a courtroom here Friday. "It just caught my eye that there was, you know, a camera lens looking directly at me."
The men never saw each other again. Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old student at Rutgers, jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge the next evening, Sept. 22, 2010.
It was two weeks later, when prosecutors went to his house, that the man learned that the camera, on the computer of Clementi's roommate, had been used to view them as they had sex.
The roommate, Dharun Ravi, is on trial in Superior Court in New Brunswick on charges of invasion of privacy, bias intimidation and hindering apprehension after, prosecutors say, he tried to cover up his Twitter messages alerting friends to watch the men having sex. Ravi, 20, is not charged with Clementi's death.
In a rare exception, the witness was identified in court only as M.B., and the judge warned the journalists assembled that they could not record or photograph him.
The testimony has done little to shed light on the reasons Clementi killed himself. In the text messages that consumed much of his new relationship with M.B., he comes across as a young man newly and eagerly infatuated.
"I left happy. He was happy," M.B. testified, describing his last contact with Clementi. When he did not hear from Clementi, M.B. said, he texted him "twice a day every day." Finally, he said, he picked up a newspaper and read about his death.