SALT LAKE CITY — A woman who testified she had sex multiple times with a man who would later be shot and paralyzed in an unrelated neighborhood watch incident said she initially didn't want to talk to police.
"He said it didn't happen and I didn't want to deal with the frustration of getting it out there," the now-22-year-old woman said Wednesday. "I just wanted to blow it off."
The woman said she was 17 when she had sex three separate times with David Serbeck — a man 18 years her senior. Serbeck is on trial for three counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old, a third-degree felony.
The alleged victim said she met Serbeck, a neighbor, a few times before going to his home to look at his collection of snakes. During a subsequent visit, she said things became physical.
"We started talking about some personal things," she said. "It made me have some type of connection with him. ... While we were sitting on the couch and talking a little more, a kiss was slipped in."
She said the two exchanged phone numbers and she told no one about what had happened.
"I was totally shocked and embarrassed," she said of the encounter. "I felt sick and disappointed, also."
The two eventually had sex three times and talked and sent text messages often. Though she said she was scared of Serbeck, she said they had something akin to a relationship that ended when a friend confronted her about nude photos on her cell phone.
That friend testified that she and the alleged victim had swapped phones, which is how she discovered nude photos of a man and a young woman. She was able to identify the female in the photos as her friend.
"I called her dad," the friend said. "He was very upset. He didn't believe me at first."
The alleged victim said she was there when her father called and confronted Serbeck.
"He said it wasn't true and denied it," she said of Serbeck's reaction.
Serbeck moved soon after.
Once Serbeck denied what had happened, the woman said she tried to move on. It was only later, when she heard in the news that Serbeck may have been following teenage girls that she decided to come forward.
"I heard he was stalking someone and made the father of the person he was stalking angry," she said. "I saw it was still happening to others."
Serbeck was shot in Bluffdale on July 21, 2009, by his neighbor, Reginald Campos. The bullet severed his spine, paralyzing him from the chest down and confining Serbeck to a wheelchair. Campos was sentenced to three years to life in prison in September after a jury convicted him of attempted murder and aggravated assault.
Serbeck and another man were patrolling their neighborhood in an SUV when they came across two teenage girls walking about 11:30 p.m. — one of whom was Campos' daughter, according to court testimony. The daughter testified that she was later aggressively followed by the SUV and told her father, who grabbed his gun and drove around looking for the vehicle. Serbeck said he had merely stopped to check on the girls and later followed the vehicle they were in because it matched one suspected in a rash of burglaries.
Campos confronted the men and fired two shots at Serbeck. Serbeck's alleged victim said she came forward during Campos' trial — and filed a civil suit against Serbeck — in an effort to help Campos' case. Her testimony was not allowed at the attempted murder trial, but was alluded to by defense attorneys.
Serbeck declined to comment Wednesday, but shook his head during various parts of the woman's testimony. Both in the courtroom and out, his attorney, Scott Berrett, reiterated that his client is innocent.
"Our defense all along has been that he's not guilty," Berrett said. "My client has maintained his innocence all along and that why we're at trial — to defend his good name."
David Serbeck's trial will continue Thursday.