EVERETT — The night began as an uneventful date more than two years ago.
It ended with allegations that a woman in her 40s was beaten and raped in a car.
“She didn’t expect not to end up at home,” deputy prosecutor Taryn Jones said Friday in Snohomish County Superior Court.
A trial began Friday for Jerry George Wood, 43, of Seattle, who is accused of raping the woman and, while behind bars, recruiting an inmate to kill her and kidnap others who know about the case. Wood also has been charged with intimidating a witness after the alleged “murder-for-hire” plot fell through.
“This is a case that unfolds over a number of years,” Jones said.
Defense attorney Walter Peale argued that the prosecution’s version of events doesn’t line up with what actually has taken place. The sex was consensual, he said, and there isn’t enough evidence to prove otherwise. Peale also dismissed the other accusations, indicating they were overblown.
Testifying in court, the woman recollected what had happened the night of Jan. 15, 2017.
She said she had been talking to someone through an online dating service and agreed to meet them at a bowling alley in Kenmore.
They bowled a round, had a couple drinks, before heading to the Viking Sports Bar and Grill in Shoreline.
The two didn’t click, the woman said. So the man went his way while she stayed behind. It was karaoke night, after all.
The woman met two other men, one of whom was Wood. They offered to drop her off at her home in Lynnwood. She agreed and got into Wood’s car, prosecutors wrote. At one point, they stopped, and Wood got into the backseat with her.
As they traveled northbound on I-5, though, she noticed they missed her exit, according to charging papers.
“You’re mine now,” Wood said, according to charging papers. “I own you. I’ll find you wherever you go.”
He allegedly punched her in the face and slammed her head against the car door, charging papers say. He forced her to perform a sex act, prosecutors wrote. When she resisted, he reportedly hit her again.
The driver later told detectives that he heard arguing in the back seat, then screaming. He looked over his shoulder and reportedly saw that Wood had the woman in a headlock.
Eventually they ended up at a house in Arlington. The driver got out and went inside. The woman said she didn’t recognize the place.
There, Wood raped her again, prosecutors alleged in charging papers.
“I screamed, I yelled, I fought,” she testified in court Friday. “I used everything, every strength I had in my body to try to fight.”
“How did that work for you?” deputy prosecutor Matt Baldock asked.
“I’m just physically not stronger than he was,” she said.
The woman was 5-feet and 110 pounds. Wood was 5-feet-9 and 235 pounds.
Someone from the house got the woman out of the car and helped her get dressed. Later, one of her friends showed up and took the woman to the emergency room at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett.
A deputy took photos of her injuries: a bruise above her right eye, bleeding in a cornea and swollen, bloody lips. The woman said she was missing her pink underwear.
When deputies went to arrest Wood at his home, he denied having raped the woman. “You mean that girl from Viking? She was all over me,” he said, according to charging papers.
While at the house, a deputy noticed pink underwear and a debit card belonging to the woman.
Wood’s time in jail has been eventful, according to court records. Since his arrest in 2017, he’s sent a flurry of handwritten notes addressed to the court, asking for a different lawyer and for a gag request on media during the trial, among other requests. In one letter, he stated “I want to leave earth and go back to my planet.” He signed it “Jerry Wood (earth name)” and “Musa (real name).”
In a mental health review, a psychologist determined he likely was exaggerating or feigning symptoms, and seemed to have little trouble tracking the conversation and understanding legal terms. A judge declared him competent to stand trial.
In January 2018, Wood allegedly recruited another inmate to kill the woman he was accused of raping.
He gave another inmate two books. On certain pages, there was small handwriting squeezed between lines of printed text, giving detailed instructions and promising a reward.
“Can you handle this it has to be done now and I swear you … will never have to worry about (expletive) as long as Im around, money, car, place to stay nothing,” a couple of the notes said.
“Make her disappear by any means homie,” another stated.
One of the notes ordered the inmate to inject 2 to 3 grams of heroin into the woman. The inmate told a detective that was enough to kill someone.
“I know what murder for hire is, and this is it,” he reportedly said.
A year later, this past February, the same inmate was incarcerated at Washington Corrections Center in Shelton when another man approached him, demanding he retract his earlier statements accusing Wood of soliciting murder.
The inmate said he cooperated to avoid being hurt, but indicated he would still work with prosecutors against Wood.
In a recorded phone call made to Wood’s mother, the man tasked with carrying out the threat reportedly confirmed that he “pushed up on the dude that’s here.”
“You know, the guy might not come testify and say whatever we need him to say, but I can make sure he puts it on paper … will that help?” he allegedly said.
Wood was charged in late September with intimidating a witness.
The rape accusations are not the first rape-related charges Wood has faced. He was convicted in 2006 of rape and aggravated sexual abuse in New York. And after his release from federal prison in December 2015, he was soon arrested for allegedly trying to become a pimp to a woman who was actually an undercover police officer.
Wood was free pending trial on the promoting prostitution charge when he allegedly attacked the woman near Arlington.
The trial was expected to pick up again Monday.