SALT LAKE CITY (AP)– Three guys accused of raping a 9-year-old Utah lady while her mom was smoking methamphetamine in a garage were discovered not guilty Wednesday after their legal representatives argued they could not be convicted without physical evidence.
District attorneys stated the lady’s clear, painful statement that the 3 got and assaulted her after a 2016 Easter-egg hunt in rural Utah need to suffice to convict them. Uintah County attorney Mark Thomas indicated statement that helped convict comic Bill Cosby in his sexual-assault case.
But the defense argued that without any blood, hair or severe injuries, the jury couldn’t be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt. Lawyers stated the kid, now 11, was copying a story made by her paranoid mom, who was upset at a former partner who was a defendant.
“If whatever that she was stating held true, there should be some type of physical proof or injury to her,” said defense attorney Bryan Sidwell.
The jury of five guys and three females pondered for about 3 hours prior to reaching the decision.
Offenders Larson RonDeau, 38, Randall Flatlip, 28 and Jerry Flatlip, 31, were held in custody to deal with surcharges, though some may be thrown away after the acquittal on rape and sodomy counts.
The case provoked outrage in the town of Vernal, about 170 miles (274 kilometers) east of Salt Lake City.
The woman testified that she opted for her mother, who wanted to go to a good friend from jail, to the house where the three males were remaining in 2016.
She stated the three guys brought her to a back bedroom and assaulted her after she went to sleep on a sofa, and returned her after it was over. When her mom got back from the garage, she discovered the woman disturbed with her Easter dress askew. She insisted on going house.
She didn’t initially inform her mother about the assault because the guys threatened to kill her, district attorneys said. The mother called authorities when she confided in her about two days later on.
Thomas stated Wednesday that prosecutors litigated with the very best evidence readily available.
“We present cases to the jury that our company believe that we have enough proof. Then it’s up to the jury,” he stated.
“There was a case versus Costs Cosby where there was no physical proof and the jury there found (him guilty) exclusively on the statement of someone who existed,” Thomas stated. “Undoubtedly we still think that an individual’s testament can be weighed and thought about by the jury.”
The Associated Press typically does not identify people who state they were victims of sexual assault and is not calling the mother to prevent recognizing the girl.
The mom consequently pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor kid abuse charge and was sentenced to jail and drug treatment.
The lady is now in the care of her Native American tribe, authorities have stated.
Charges were initially submitted versus a fourth guy but dropped when the mom could not be discovered to affirm at a 2016 evidence hearing.
The offenders remained calm throughout much of the five-day trial, but Jerry Flatlip seemed to end up being emotional as defense attorneys urged the jury to acquit the men.
“He stated, ‘This is the first time in 2 years that somebody’s actually stood up and informed my side of the story to somebody,'” his legal representative, Sidwell, stated.
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