Archived Story

Attorneys asks judge to dismiss case in H.S. rape

Published 12:56am Tuesday, March 12, 2013

COLUMBUS (AP) — Attorneys for a high school football player facing rape accusations in Ohio are asking a judge to dismiss the case against him because they say the “unavailability of material witnesses” denies him his right to a fair trial.

A West Virginia judge last week rejected requests that three juveniles be called to testify at the eastern Ohio trial of two high school football players charged with raping a 16-year-old girl. The girl is from West Virginia.

The juveniles’ testimony was expected to bolster the players’ defense against the charges.

Attorneys representing defendant Trent Mays argue in a motion to dismiss the case that one of the witnesses was a friend of the girl’s and can testify to the alleged victim’s alcohol intake and relationship with Mays.

“Additionally, the witness will testify that she spoke to the alleged victim immediately following the alleged incident, and will provide information about the victim’s words, conduct, and state of mind,” Mays’ attorneys wrote in their motion obtained Monday by The Associated Press.

Mays and Ma’Lik Richmond go on trial Wednesday in Jefferson County juvenile court in Steubenville on charges they attacked the girl after an alcohol-fueled party last August. Their attorneys have denied the charges.

Mays’ attorneys Brian Duncan and Adam Lee Neeman argue that the multiple out-of-state witnesses are “essential to presenting a complete defense.”

They say the witnesses have participated in videotaped or documented interviews with Steubenville police and have offered statements that would support their client’s position that he did not rape the girl.

A second witness allegedly received a nude photograph of the girl from Mays, the attorneys wrote in their motion. Another witness saw Mays and the girl the following morning and “can provide essential information regarding the interaction between the Defendant and the alleged victim, the alleged victim’s appearance, and statements made by the alleged victim,” according to the motion.

Richmond’s attorney did not immediately respond to a message Monday night seeking comment on the request for dismissal .

Bob Fitzsimmons, a lawyer for the girl’s family, said, “The family wants this matter over so they can move on with their lives and their daughter’s healing.”

In an order last week, Hancock County Judge Ronald Wilson ruled that no legal case was cited from anywhere in the country to support the argument that the three West Virginia juveniles can be compelled to testify in Ohio.

Ohio and West Virginia law is different for a juvenile delinquency hearing compared to a criminal trial, Wilson said in the four-page ruling on Wednesday.

The request for the subpoenas came through Ohio Judge Thomas Lipps, after defense attorneys filed motions with him asking that the three witnesses appear at the trial.

Dozens of witnesses for both sides are expected to testify at the trial. Their testimony is considered crucial because the girl was severely intoxicated that night and appeared to be passed out at times, according to several witnesses. She is not expected to testify herself.

The Tribune believes it is possible for people with a variety of points of view to discuss issues in a civil manner and will remove comments that, in our opinion, foster incivility. We want to encourage an open exchange of information and ideas. Responsibility for what is posted or contributed to this site is the sole responsibility of each user. By contributing to this website, you agree not to post any defamatory, abusive, harassing, obscene, sexual, threatening or illegal material, or any other material that infringes on the ability of others to enjoy this site, or that infringes on the rights of others. Any user who feels that a contribution to this website is a violation of these terms of use is encouraged to email, or click the "report comment" link that is on all comments. We reserve the right to remove messages that violate these terms of use and we will make every effort to do so — within a reasonable time frame — if we determine that removal is necessary.

Editor's Picks