After a weeklong trial, a jury found a man guilty Monday of a 2009 home-invasion rape of a stranger in her Lincoln apartment.

Jurors returned with the verdict just before 6:30 p.m., finding Armon Dixon guilty of sexual assault, robbery and use of a weapon charges. They got the case at 10:45 a.m.

Wearing an untucked tan dress shirt and slacks, Dixon bowed and shook his head slightly as the verdict was read. He faces 45 years or more in prison.

Sitting in the courtroom, the 30-year-old woman who accused Dixon of the attack silently wept.

Last week, she took the stand to testify about a 10-hour nightmare, then pointed at Dixon and identified him as the man responsible for the attack that started with a knock on her apartment door after 9 p.m. on April 23, 2009.

She said her attacker pushed his way in her apartment, pulled a gun on her and her 3-year-old son, then raped her with her son in the room down the hall, at one point holding a knife to both of them.

Then, she said, he left with the bedding and condoms after forcing her to bathe and clean the bathroom with bleach cleanser.

No one contests what the woman says happened.

But the defense questioned her identification of Dixon as the man who did it.

In closing arguments Monday, Deputy Public Defender Shawn Elliott said because police found no fingerprints, no conclusive DNA and nothing of the victim's in Dixon's possession, the entire case comes down to the ID.

And he questioned whether the jury could rely on it when the woman couldn't identify Dixon as her attacker in a photo line-up nine days after the crime.

That day, she told an investigator Dixon's photo looked similar; then, five days later, she said she believed he was the one. She told her sister she had a physical reaction to seeing the photo.

"Nearly three years later she's 100 percent sure?" Elliott asked.

He said that wasn't the kind of identification that overcomes the reasonable doubt standard.

Elliott said the police photo line-up was prone to the type of error in which someone gets wrongly charged and ultimately convicted if jurors don't think seriously about it.

Chief Deputy Lancaster County Attorney Pat Condon said if the victim's ID was all the state had it  would have reasonable doubt, but "that isn't the only thing the state has."

Not only did the woman pick out Dixon, a man who lived with his sister a floor down from the victim, but police found Dixon had access to duct tape and a box of condoms with three missing (the same number the victim said her attacker had used) and latex gloves, Condon said.

Cellphone records put Dixon in the area of the apartment complex, and towing records put the red Oldsmobile he drove in the complex parking lot on the night of the attack, he said.

Condon also challenged a defense argument that police found no "smoking gun" in searches of places Dixon stayed, his lockers at work or vehicles he drove.

"If you're smart enough to wear gloves, if you're smart enough to wear condoms … aren't you smart enough to take care of the stuff you took from the apartment?" he asked.

In the end, Condon went back to the woman's ID on the witness stand and said it wasn't because she saw Dixon in court or in news accounts. Her identification of him, Condon said, was based on the man spending 10 hours in her apartment, sexually assaulting her numerous times.

"That is what she is making an identification on," he said. "That is what she is 100 percent sure of. It is Armon Dixon."

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Reach Lori Pilger at 402-473-7237 or lpilger@journalstar.com. Reach Nick Bergin at 402-473-7304 or nbergin@journalstar.com.



Lori Pilger is a public safety reporter.

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