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Rape Trial Day Three: Web Update

March 15, 2013
Weirton Daily Times

STEUBENVILLE - Testimony for day three of the juvenile rape trial in Steubenville ended Friday evening, and court is set to reconvene at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.

Judge Thomas Lipps indicated the court session could extend into Sunday if needed.

According to sources, the prosecution is expected to call one more witness Saturday and then the defense will get a chance to put on its case.

The alleged victim is expected to testify Saturday.

Friday's session ended with testimony from J.P. Rigaud, currently with the state Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, but formerly a juvenile detective with the Steubenville Police Department.

Rigaud testified to collecting cell phones and collecting DNA evidence among other matters.

Rigaud said the alleged victim could not remember a large portion of the events, and he "stood in her shoes" to help piece together evidence.

The alleged victim's underwear, ear rings and cell phone went missing the night of the alleged incident, according to testimony late Friday.

Ma'Lik Richmond's attorney, Walter Madison, asked Rigaud about Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Jane Hanlin son.

Rigaud said the alleged victim's mother mentioned the name of Hanlin's son, and she indicated he was present at the party.

Rigaud said his investigation proved otherwise, telling the court he was "able to exclude him in the investigation we're discussing now." Rigaud said he discovered where Hanlin's son was during the days in question.

Madison also questioned the timing of evidence collection and other investigative matters.

A specialist from the BCI testified earlier in the evening that she was able to match a sperm sample from a blanket to 17-year old Trent Mays.

Heather Bizub testified a swab from the blanket matched a controlled sample taken from defendant Mays.

It was the first testimony in the trial of Mays and 16-year old Richmond who are accused of rape of a 16-year old Weirton girl last summer that focused on DNA testing.

Mays also is charged with illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material for allegedly having and sending a picture of the girl from his cell phone.

A Steubenville High School senior testified Friday afternoon he believed he saw two defendants facing rape charges engage in an inappropriate sex act the night the girl was allegedly raped.

Eighteen-year-old Anthony Craig was the third witness granted immunity by Lipps and compelled to testify during the third day of testimony in the Jefferson County Juvenile Court.

Craig testified that he could not remember much of what happened that day.

But he did testify to witnessing an incident in the basement of Mark Cole's Wintersville home.

Craig told prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter that he believed he saw both defendants engaging in an inappropriate sex act.

When asked why he did not intervene Craig responded, "I was told to not worry about it, everything would be fine."

Craig also indicated on multiple occasions that he did not witness the alleged victim move, talk or participate in the sexual act.

Earlier Friday Cole told Lipps he witnessed Mays digitally penetrating the underage girl.

Cole testified this morning the alleged contact took place in a vehicle as they traveled from one party to another. He admitted to recording the incident on his iPhone, but said he deleted it the next morning. When asked why, he said, "It was one of those moments when you realize you did something wrong and stupid that night, so I deleted it."

The youth also testified about a series of text messages he sent to and received from Mays and Richmond in the hours and days after the incident allegedly took place, and admitted to consuming between eight and 10 beers that evening. He also testified that he refused to send Mays and others the video that he'd recorded.

He also testified that at one point, he saw the alleged victim and Mays wrapped in a blanket. Earlier, investigators had said they found Mays' semen as well as the girl's DNA on a blanket recovered at the scene and sent to the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation for testing.

Cole said he also saw Richmond lying behind the girl and said he believed Richmond was touching her with his hand.

Cole had told the state's attorney that the girl was being very loud and that he believed it was because she was intoxicated. But under cross-examination, Cole told Richmond's attorney, Walter Madison, that all of the partygoers were being loud and he couldn't say with certainty whether the victim was drunk or just trying to be heard above the noise.

Cole also told Madison that a now-infamous picture of the Richmond and Mays holding the girl by her hands and ankles as they carried her out of a party "was a joke" photo and agreed with Madison's assertion that nobody knew what just happened before the photo was taken, or what happened immediately after it was taken.

He also told Madison that he'd told investigators "as much as I could remember and as truthfully as I could."

Evan Westlake testified under immunity the girl appeared to be "pretty drunk" after a large party earlier that night. But he also testified that before the alleged attack in the basement he saw Mays and the alleged victim cuddling, hugging and kissing in the back seat of Cole's car.

The complete story on Friday's testimony will follow.

 
 

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