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Trial begins for Littlejohn in York attack

The criminal trial of the Manhattan bouncer who allegedly handcuffed, beat and tried to kidnap a York College student three years ago opened Tuesday with the victim preparing to take the stand later in the week.

Darryl Littlejohn, 43, a Jamaica resident who was arrested in 2006 in a separate murder case involving another student, is facing charges of assault, criminal impersonation, robbery and the kidnapping of a student on the streets of Jamaica.

Assistant District Attorney Frank DeGaetano summed up the details of the Oct. 19, 2005, abduction to the jury in Queens Supreme Court during his opening statements before Judge Gregory Lasak.

“This is a case about every woman’s worst nightmare. Fortunately, this is also a case about courage,” he said.

DeGaetano said the victim was walking from school along 107th Avenue and the Van Wyck Expressway when she allegedly saw Littlejohn standing in front of a blue van, dressed in blue with a holstered gun and silver handcuffs.

Littlejohn, who spent 41 months in prison for a 1999 bank robbery, approached the 19−year−old woman, asked her to show him identification and handcuffed her hands behind her back before beating her head and throwing her into the van, the prosecutor said.

“[The victim] asked why he was doing this to her and he replied, ‘Shut up,’ ” DeGaetano said.

The student was able to escape from the moving van while her kidnapper drove off, according to DeGaetano.

Littlejohn, who worked as a bouncer at a SoHo bar known as “The Falls,” was arrested five months later in connection with the murder and rape of John Jay College student Imette St. Guillen. St. Guillen was at the bar with a friend before she disappeared and police say that his DNA was found on her body.

The York College student, who was scheduled to take the stand this week, identified Littlejohn as her kidnapper after she saw his image on TV following his arrest and was able to pick him out of a lineup, according to the prosecutor.

Littlejohn’s attorney, Jason Russo, contended during his opening statement that his client was a victim of negative press coverage and an inconsistent police investigation. He claimed initial suspect reports that stemmed from the victim’s interviews with the police described the kidnapper as 6 feet tall, between 160 and 170 pounds, 20 to 30 years old with short black hair.

Russo told the jury that Littlejohn, who is bald, is 5 feet 6 inches, weighed more than 270 pounds at the time of the incident and was in his 40s.

“It’s not surprising because Mr. Littlejohn doesn’t match any single description she made following the incident,” he said.

DeGaetano said the lineup was not his only piece of crucial evidence in the case. Littlejohn’s DNA was found on the handcuffs along with the victim, according to the prosecutor.

“Only one in a half million people could be the [DNA] contributor on those handcuffs,” he said. “This is the bad luck equivalent of winning the lottery.”

If convicted on all counts, Littlejohn faces up to 25 years in prison, according to the district attorney’s office. His murder trial in Manhattan is pending.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e−mail at ipereira@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 146.

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