LAS VEGAS, Nev. - A man who was in a Las Vegas hotel room while a Saudi Arabian air force sergeant is accused of raping a 13-year-old boy in the locked bathroom testified Thursday that he knocked on the door but couldn't get in.
Rashed Alshahri testified that Mazen Alotaibi was drunk, wobbly and combative with another friend after driving back from a strip club the morning of Dec. 31 before the boy followed them to their room at the Circus Circus.
"I asked him about his age," Alshahri recalled from the witness stand. "He said 13. We told him to leave."
Alotaibi, 24, is standing trial on nine felony charges including kidnapping, sexual assault with a minor and lewdness with a child that could get him life in prison if he's convicted.
"You knew he was in there with the kid, right?" prosecutor Mary Kay Holthus asked.
"Yes," Alshahri replied.
Alshahri said he knocked two or three times. He thought the shower was running, and said he never heard voices, scuffling or cries for help. He wasn't clear about how many minutes Alotaibi and the boy were in the bathroom.
When they exited, the boy immediately left the hotel room and Alotaibi went to a corner to drink cognac and smoke marijuana, Alshahri said.
"When Mazen came out, he said the boy wanted money or weed," he said. "He said he didn't give him any."
Alotaibi's attorney, Don Chairez, maintains the boy consented to sex in return for marijuana or money, although he was well below the age of consent in Nevada of 16.
Chairez said Alotaibi may testify Friday.
Jurors have heard that Alotaibi followed the boy out of the hotel room, smoked marijuana with him outside the hotel, and returned with him to the sixth-floor room where Alshahri and several other Saudi men were lounging. Some of the men smoked marijuana, Alshahri said.
Jurors won't hear from the other four men in the room because they've returned to Saudi Arabia.
The jury has seen elevator security video showing Alotaibi kissing the boy on the neck, and prosecutors say DNA swabbed from the boy's neck, ear, chest and other body parts was consistent with the boy and Alotaibi.
Chairez maintains the DNA evidence is inconclusive.
The boy testified Monday that he wanted marijuana, and that Alotaibi offered to pay him for sex. He said he returned to the hotel room with Alotaibi in hopes of getting money and running away before anything happened.
He said he felt he became trapped when Alotaibi blocked the bathroom door.
The Associated Press isn't naming the boy, now 14, because he is a minor.
Alshahri, 25, is from Saudi Arabia. He has been studying computer science for almost a year at a college near Dallas. He noted that Arabic is his first language, but he testified Thursday in English.
He said he drove with Alotaibi and another man from Texas to Santa Monica, California, before travelling late Dec. 30 to Las Vegas.
They didn't immediately check into a hotel, but spent time instead drinking cognac at a strip club.
Alotaibi lost and then found the keys to the car, drove back to the hotel, and loudly tried to fight his other friend in the parking lot before returning to the hotel room, Alshahri said.
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