2 Women Testify Rape Defendant Drugged Them

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Two women testified Thursday that rape defendant Andrew Luster tricked them into taking a drug that rendered them unconscious so the Mussel Shoals millionaire could have sex with them.

One woman said Luster convinced her that GHB was a harmless herbal drug, while the other said Luster slipped the so-called "date-rape drug" into her drink without her knowledge.

"What . . . did you put in my drink?" a 22-year-old UC Santa Barbara student said she asked Luster after finishing a drink that prompted a series of hot flashes.

"He said, 'It's liquid ecstasy. Don't you like it?' " said the woman, identified as Carey Doe.

Prosecutors called the two women to testify during a court hearing in Ventura to determine if Luster should stand trial on 88 counts, including rape, poisoning and sexual battery.

Authorities allege that Luster, 37, the great-grandson of cosmetics legend Max Factor, used the date-rape drug gamma hydroxybutyrate, also known as GHB and liquid ecstasy, to rape three women after they slipped into unconsciousness. Investigators also recovered videotapes from Luster's home in Mussel Shoals that show Luster having sex with two of the sleeping women.

Defense attorneys, however, contend that all three women consented to taking the drug and to sex and that the case is really about bedroom privacy. The women are only cooperating with authorities, they say, because they are young, overzealous party girls who are embarrassed by their behavior.

And at least one woman is a scorned former girlfriend out for vengeance, lawyers said.

That woman, identified as Tanya Doe by prosecutors, took the stand Thursday to describe her relationship with Luster. She said she and her sister met Luster and a friend of his at a bar on Santa Barbara's State Street in October 1996.

After talking for a while, the group agreed to go back to Luster's home.

It was then, Tanya said, that Luster offered her GHB. "He said that it was natural, not illegal and it gave a euphoric feeling," said Tanya, who was 23 at the time.

He brought out a Tupperware bowl containing a clear liquid and gave her about a shot full. Tanya said she then lay down on a couch next to Luster, where the pair talked until she fell asleep.

Tanya said she developed a romance with Luster and eventually moved from Arizona to live with him. But the romance ended after about three months. The pair eventually ended up in small claims court, where Luster won a judgment against Tanya for $2,500 he had loaned her for dental work.

Deputy Dist. Atty. John Blair showed a 30-minute videotape of Luster having sex with a sleeping Tanya. Despite the relationship, she said she had no idea the tape existed until investigators told her about it. Based on the clothes she was wearing in the tape, Tanya said it was made the first night she met Luster.

"I hate him," a tearful Tanya said after viewing the tape. "I just can't believe he'd do this to me."

The other woman, Carey Doe, acknowledged drinking heavily the night she met Luster at a State Street bar. At one point that night, Luster offered the woman and her male friend a glass of water, she testified.

"After drinking the water," said Carey, "I don't remember anything."

Carey, her friend, identified as David Doe, Luster and a friend of his drove back to Luster's house. From that point on, Carey said she has flashes of memories, including taking off her clothes and jumping into the ocean near Luster's home. She next ended up in his shower, where she said Luster had sex with her.

Luster later gave her another drink, which she downed in "one fast swig."

"Then I felt this wave of heat, it just came over me," Carey said.

After learning from Luster that he had spiked her drink with "liquid ecstasy," Carey said she remembers "being pushed down, with his friend underneath me."

Carey said Luster had sex with her once more before she blacked out entirely. They had sex again in the morning, and Carey said she still felt too weak to resist.

"Did you feel you had been raped by the defendant?" Blair asked.

"Yes," Carey said. "I felt completely violated--I was humiliated."

Testimony continues today as the defense cross-examines Carey.

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