Case moves to trial

A Truman State student facing charges of rape in the first degree, felonious restraint and tampering with a victim was indicted on all charges during his first appearance before Second Circuit Judge Russell Steele May 4, where he was arraigned and entered in a plea of not guilty. A three-day jury trial currently is scheduled for March 23, 2016.

The student originally was supposed to face a preliminary hearing during March to determine if there was probable cause for the case. Instead, the student was indicted on the charges following an appearance before a grand jury May 4.

Adair County prosecutor Matt Wilson says appearing before a grand jury generally provides an opportunity for victims to testify in front of a jury in a more controlled environment.

“Victims are often required to express what happened about five or six times on average by the time they get to a jury trial,” says Wilson.

Wilson says presenting a case to a grand jury allows the prosecution to see what questions a jury might have about a case. He also says a grand jury can help the prosecution figure out what strengths or weaknesses their case might have while giving the victim a chance to become accustomed to talking to twelve people about what happened to them.

Wilson says if the student is found guilty, he could face up to life in prison for the rape charge and up to seven years in prison each for the charges of felonious restraint and tampering with a victim.

The student is represented by attorney Mark Williams of the Benson Law Firm. Williams says between now and the scheduled trial the case is in the discovery period when attorneys work to obtain depositions, statements, and audio tapes to prepare for trial.