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Reluctantly, victim tells of attack

The night Catina Washington was stabbed, beaten and burned by a man who said he would kill her, she screamed from inside her apartment and pounded on a wall trying to summon help.

On Tuesday, the day she was to face her accused attacker, Washington didn't show up in court until threatened with arrest. On the witness stand, she stared toward the floor and spoke in a near whisper.

"I just don't want to be here," Washington, 34, said on the stand.

Authorities say her ex-boyfriend, Willie Andre Haynes, tried to kill her Sept. 18, 2005. Haynes, 38, is charged with first-degree attempted murder and first-degree arson. The trial continues today. Haynes could face up to 60 years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors say trouble started the night of Sept. 17 at a party where Haynes was playing music and Washington was celebrating with family. She was also talking to another man, angering Haynes, with whom she had been involved, on and off, for eight years.

Haynes and Washington later ended up at her room in the Gray Moss Inn on Church Avenue. They were engaged in sexual activity, authorities said, when an argument started and Haynes turned violent.

According to prosecutors, Haynes stabbed Washington in the ear with a screwdriver, beat her with a wooden board, doused her in rubbing alcohol and nail polish remover and threw a lit match on her. He told her he was going to kill her.

She suffered a puncture wound to her eardrum and second-degree burns, Assistant State Attorney Stacey Sumner told the jury of five men and two women. "She was screaming, crying, yelling," Sumner said.

On Tuesday, she cried again. She also said she couldn't recall details of the fight and answered some questions with silence.

She answered yes when asked if she and Haynes had argued, but said she didn't remember what it was about. She said yes, the two of them were together in her apartment. But she just cried when pressed for details.

She wept when asked about the burns she suffered in the attack and refused to look at pictures of her injuries.

At one point, senior Judge David Walker ordered Washington to answer questions and threatened to hold her in contempt of court.

Under cross-examination, defense attorney Geoff Cox posed the possibility that she was impaired that night after drinking alcohol and may have lost consciousness.

"Is that right, Ms. Washington, you don't remember how your ear got hurt?" Cox said.

Softly, she answered "no."

Molly Moorhead can be reached at (352) 521-6521 or moorhead@sptimes.com.

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