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Sat 10:30pm: Rape trial ends; verdict coming Sunday

March 16, 2013
The Associated Press , Tribune Chronicle | TribToday.com

STEUBENVILLE - Two Ohio high school football players accused of raping a 16-year-old girl after an alcohol-fueled party last summer are due back in juvenile court Sunday to learn their fate.

Their four-day nonjury trial ended Saturday after testimony from the West Virginia teenager, who said she could not remember what happened that night when she woke up naked in a strange house. She said she felt embarrassed and scared.

Judge Thomas Lipps said he will announce his decision Sunday morning. If found delinquent - the juvenile court equivalent of guilty - the two defendants could be held in juvenile jail until they turn 21.

Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, 16, are charged with digitally penetrating the girl, first in a car and then in the basement of a house, while out partying Aug. 12. Mays also is charged with illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material. They maintain their innocence.

The case has riveted the small city of Steubenville amid allegations that more students should have been charged and led to questions about the influence of the local football team, a source of pride in a community that suffered massive job losses with the collapse of the steel industry.

The girl took the stand Saturday, saying she remembers drinking at the party, leaving the party holding hands with Mays, then throwing up later. The next thing she remembers is waking up with no clothes on in a strange house, she said. Her phone, earrings, shoes, and underwear were missing, she testified.

"It was really scary, really scary," she said. "I honestly did not know what to think because I could not remember anything."

She recalled being in a car later with Mays and Richmond and asking them what happened.

"They kept telling me I was a hassle and they took care of me," she testified. "I thought I could trust him (Mays) until I saw the pictures and video."

She said she believed she was assaulted when she later read text messages among friends and saw a photo of herself and a video made that night. She said she suspected she had been drugged because she couldn't explain being as intoxicated as defense witnesses have said she was.

Earlier Saturday, defense attorneys went after the character and credibility of the alleged victim, calling witnesses to the stand to accommodate their schedule, although the prosecution had not yet rested. Two former friends of the girl testified that the accuser had a history of drinking heavily and was known to lie about things.

 
 

 

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