VANCOUVER, Wash. - An Army recruiter who had served in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq has been convicted of raping his 6-year-old daughter, a verdict rendered within hours after he nearly killed himself.
Maj. Osadebe M. ''Paul'' Anene, 49, a divorced father of five, went home and took an overdose of medication the morning after the little girl and her teenage sister testified against him in Clark County Superior Court, Judge Roger Bennett and lawyers for both sides were told.
Anene called 911 from his apartment, and emergency personnel found him lying on his back about 7 a.m. Wednesday in full military dress, a large cross on his chest and a Bible by his side, police said. No pulse was detectable, but medics revived him.
Bennett rejected a defense motion for a mistrial.
Before swallowing pills and calling 911, Anene had placed a large cross on his chest; a Bible was by his side.
Anene was revived and admitted into intensive care at Southwest Washington Medical Center.
He remains in serious condition, hospital spokesman Ken Cole said Thursday.
If Anene survives, he faces serious consequences. While he was comatose, the jury listened to the rest of the evidence, deliberated just more than an hour and convicted him Wednesday on all charges.
The 49-year-old father of five faces up to 18 years in prison, potentially more because the jury found aggravating circumstances that warranted an exceptional sentence.
On Wednesday morning, after hearing the reason for Anene's no-show, Bennett denied defense attorney Robert Vukanovich's motion for a mistrial. Court rules allow a trial to continue without a defendant if the absence is voluntary, Bennett said Thursday.
Bennett didn't tell jurors about Anene's whereabouts until the verdict came in.
It wasn't the first time a defendant disappeared on Bennett during trial.
Years ago, a grandfather went home after the first day of trial for child molestation and "blew his head off," Bennett recalled.
Kim Farr, a senior deputy prosecuting attorney who works out of the Child Abuse Intervention Center, was the prosecutor in that case, as well as the Anene case.
Under Farr's questioning on Tuesday, the 6-year-old victim told jurors about the abuse. Dr. John Stirling told them he found evidence of the abuse during his examination of the girl.
The girl's teenaged sister said Anene had abused her for years and had threatened to kill their mother.
Anene's ex-wife, who divorced her husband of 20 years in 2005, said the family lived in fear of Anene, a military man who told them he had the ways and means to do whatever he pleased.
Louisa Anene, 43, and her children now live in Texas.
She and her daughters flew home Thursday, Farr said.
"This is very hard on the children," he said. He added he could not prosecute Anene for abusing the eldest girl because the alleged abuse happened when the family was living in Germany and other places, before they moved to Vancouver in 2005.
One of the last questions Vukanovich asked the eldest daughter Tuesday under cross-examination was, Do you still love your father?
"She said that she did," Farr said.
If Anene doesn't survive, the children will always believe it was their fault he swallowed the pills, Farr said.
"They will think that it was their coming forward that drove him to do it. Not the fact that he did it or the fact he was facing punishment for it," Farr said.
Farr has been prosecuting child abusers for 15 years.
"Like all these cases, it's a tragedy all the way around. Nobody ever wins."
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