Kellen Winslow trial Day 5: How bike location data incriminated him
VISTA, Calif. — As a retired NFL player living in Southern California, Kellen Winslow II often liked to go outside and ride his bike around his neighborhood.
He wore cycling shoes, a cycling helmet and even owned workout clothes bearing the logo of “Strava,” a mobile fitness application that he allegedly used to publicly track his cycling routes in north San Diego County.
It was a hobby he seemed to love.
“I just signed up for Strava,” said a message associated with one of his social media accounts in 2014.
But now it might prove to be a damning part of his downfall after once living large with an estimated $40 million in earnings during his 10-year NFL career.
Kellen Winslow last played in the NFL in 2013. (Photo: Otto Greule Jr, Getty Images)
Winslow’s own verified Strava account from last year appeared to show exactly where he was on the day that he is accused of pulling his pants down and exposing himself to a 59-year-old Vietnamese woman who lived down his street, about a half mile away.
According to those maps, the former NFL first-round draft pick was one house away from the woman’s home at the same time of the alleged incident.
“Does the record show that Mr. Winslow was riding his bike on May 24th, 2018, around the time that was alleged for count 6?” Judge Blaine Bowman asked during a break in Winslow’s criminal trial here Tuesday.
“Yes, Your Honor, it shows he began the ride at 3:26 p.m., and the ride origin is just … one house away from where the victim stated this occurred,” replied Dan Owens, a San Diego County prosecutor. “And she testified it happened around 3:30."
This piece of evidence then was shown to the jury of eight men and four women. It relates to only one of 12 criminal counts he’s facing — a single misdemeanor count of indecent exposure. But it also adds to a larger picture that could help send him to prison for the rest of his life.
In addition to indecent exposure, he’s on trial for three alleged rapes and another misdemeanor case involving lewd conduct with a 77-year-old woman. There are five alleged victims, including Jane Doe No. 3, the Vietnamese woman who testified here in court last week.
All are part of the same trial here that is expected to last well into June. Winslow, 35, has pleaded not guilty as his attorneys try to show the jury that the sex was consensual, not rape, or that the alleged victims were mistaken or pursuing him for money.
“The Strava app evidence could prove to be damning to Winslow’s defense as it relates to Jane Doe No. 3,” said David P. Shapiro, a San Diego criminal defense attorney who is not involved in the case but is monitoring it. “Although only a misdemeanor charge, it will be a challenge for the defense to isolate this evidence and keep the jury from considering it as it relates to the other four Jane Does.“
The Strava evidence is particularly damning as it relates to Jane Doe 3 because she said she did not look at the face of the man she said came up behind her that day while she was gardening in her front yard. She failed to pick Winslow out of a lineup of six photos and didn’t identify him in court last week. She described the man to police as black, with “sleeves” of tattoos on his arms, wearing a cycling uniform with a bike. She also spotted the man with a blue backpack, matching a backpack found on Winslow's property.
Taken together, it’s either a string of coincidences matching Winslow, or it’s damning. It also follows a pattern being painted by Owens that Winslow himself left a series of incriminating clues behind that link him to these alleged crimes.
One was Strava, the GPS-aided fitness tool at the middle of a dispute Tuesday in court. One of Winslow’s attorneys, Emily Bahr, asked the judge to have that evidence suppressed, saying it was hearsay and that the information couldn’t be properly authenticated.
Prosecutors “contacted Strava, and in reply the (Strava) representative (said) they were unable to locate any records related to Mr. Winslow,” Bahr said Tuesday on Day 5 of the trial. “Those records don’t exist through Strava.”
But San Diego County law enforcement authorities had gone onto Strava’s website to make photos of his routes after USA TODAY Sports reported last year that the route logged by Winslow’s Strava account showed him near the scene of the alleged crime.
Authorities also linked Winslow to Strava from e-mails they found on a computer seized at his home, according to testimony. They even served a search warrant on Strava to retrieve data.
“Strava responded that they no longer had the backup data for the information that was available online because the user had deleted his account,” Owens told the judge.
Despite protests from Bahr, the judge allowed the jury to see the evidence, which also appeared to show Winslow near the woman’s home on previous rides.
Other potentially incriminating evidence presented Tuesday came from an iPhone linked to Winslow. On Tuesday, a crime and intelligence analyst with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department testified about data extracted from that phone, identified in court as “Kellen’s iPhone.” Text messages retrieved from that data appear to show Winslow planning to clean and sell his black Hummer H2.
The timing was key. Jane Doe 1, a hitchhiker, and Jane Doe 2, a homeless woman, testified last week that a similar vehicle was used by him to pick them up and rape them in March and May of 2018.
On June 7, San Diego law enforcement officials obtained a DNA sample from Winslow.
That same day, “Kellen’s iPhone” texted a car dealer.
“Wanna sell this Hummer,” said the text message from “Kellen’s iPhone.”
On Wednesday, Jane Doe 4 is expected to take the stand. She has accused Winslow of raping her in 2003, when he was 19 and she was 17 and unconscious at a party. Jane Doe 5 then would be the last alleged victim expected to testify. She is the 77-year-old woman Owens said was victimized in February when Winslow masturbated next to her in a hot tub.
He has been incarcerated here since March but attends the trial each day dressed in glasses and a suit, seated in front of his father, a Pro Football Hall of Famer who played for the San Diego Chargers.
Follow sports reporter Schrotenboer on Twitter @Schrotenboer. E-mail: [email protected]
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