Computer forensic expert testifies

STEUBENVILLE -Thursday afternoon testimony in the trial of two Steubenville High School athletes who have been charged with rape in connection with a August incident revealed that sexually explicit texts concerning the incident were sent and received on or around Aug. 12.

Testimony in the second day of the trial of Trent Mays, 17, of Bloomingdale and Ma’Lik Richmond, 16, of Steubenville showed that text messages and photos, along with e-mails, were sent from the alleged 16-year-old victim through her mother’s cell phone to phones reportedly belonging to the defendants, witnesses and other individuals. She was reportedly trying to get answers about what happened that night and determine the location of her own cell phone.

The prosecution painted a portrait of a victim who was not aware of her surroundings or anything that happened after she had reportedly vomited in the middle of a street at the second location she was reportedly taken to.

Also, testimony indicated that the victim, who lives in Weirton, through a text message, asked one of the defendants why she was drugged, and the defendant replied that she was not. The testimony was offered by JoAnn Gibb, a computer forensics specialist with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation. Her testimony was expected to last for up to three hours.

Defense attorneys offered several objections around the admissibility of text messages and other testimony from Gibb. Some objections were sustained by visiting Judge Thomas Lipps, who is hearing the case, but most were overruled with the judge’s understanding that others will later testify about receiving those text messages.

During the course of the early testimony at the Jefferson County Justice Center, text messages from Mays to others suggested Mays did not have intercourse with the alleged victim, but he did admit in one text that he did have some physical contact of a sexual nature with her.

Other texts seemed to also implicate Richmond in the incident.

The defense had not had an opportunity to cross-examine Gibbs, who was called as a prosecution witness.

If convicted, Mays and Richmond could be held in a juvenile jail until they turn 21.