The first day of the Roxen Road trial ended dramatically on Jan. 7 after witness Meredith Woythaler, the wife of victim John Woythaler, delivered an emotional testimony.
The trial began the morning of Jan. 7 — more than 18 months after the June 18, 2012 assault —before Nassau County Judge Christopher Quinn, who will try the defendants in place of a jury, a proceeding known as a bench trial. Woythaler gave her testimony late into Tuesday afternoon, bringing some clarity to the timeline of an evening that has been described only vaguely since the incident.
According to Woythaler, she left her Eton Road home around 11 p.m. on June 18 to walk her dog, Lola. Her husband, John, had recently returned from a game of soccer, and after a few minutes of conversation with his wife and one of their three daughters, went upstairs to shower.
A few minutes into her walk, Woythaler hit Nottingham Road, where she saw a group of 12 youths walking through a passageway from neighboring Virginia Avenue. The boys, she said, were all white and roughly 18 years old, and were wearing light-colored South Side High School T-shirts and baseball caps. At least one of them, she said, was holding a case of Natural Light beer. “They were very hyped up,” she said. “You could tell by their demeanor.”
Once the group spotted her, Woythaler recounted, they began taunting her jokingly, saying “look at the sexy dog,” and “look at the sexy lady,” before beginning to hurl gender-related expletives at her. At this point, she began running away, crying, allegedly to the sound of their laughter. “I think they thought it was funny, that I was running,” she said.
Once home, she called out for the number for the police, saying she had no intention of calling 911 because she didn’t consider the encounter an emergency. Once she had told the story to her husband, he went out on his own initiative, along with the dog, intending to demand an apology. Woythaler followed him in the couple’s car, picking him up shortly after, and they continued to drive around looking for the group.