Jury returns with its verdict in rape case

Amber Gillenwater

June 26, 2014

GALLIPOLIS — Following approximately 12 1/2 hours of deliberation, a guilty verdict and two not guilty verdicts were returned by a jury following three days of testimony against a man accused of raping a small girl.

Anthony Owens, 33, of Gallipolis, was found not guilty of two counts of rape and guilty to one count of gross sexual imposition after a jury returned with its verdict Thursday afternoon in the Common Pleas Court of Gallia County.

A case that has been ongoing for several years, Owens was initially indicted in May 2011 after he allegedly engaged in sexual conduct on two separate occasions with the victim, identified only as “Jane Doe,” and forced the victim to touch his erogenous zone during a period of time between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 31, 2009.

Within the indictment, “Jane Doe’s” date of birth is listed as 2001 and the indictment, filed and signed by a special prosecuting attorney with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, further specifies that the victim was less than 10 years of age at the time of the alleged offenses.

Following his initial arraignment hearing in June 2011, Owens was later released on a $50,000, own-recognizance bond and was ordered to have no contact with the alleged victim in this case.

Owens subsequently filed a waiver of speedy trial limits, and, following months of litigation and several continuations, this case came before the court for a jury trial on Nov. 20-21, 2013.

During this last trial, Owens appeared with his retained counselors, Jeffery L. Finely and William N. Eachus. Special prosecuting attorney Marianne Hemmeter and Amanda Bunner represented the State of Ohio.

According to a journal entry filed following this trial and signed by presiding Judge Michael Ward — Judge D. Dean Evans recused himself from the case — on the date of the trial last year, a jury was selected and empaneled and “during the presentation of the state’s evidence, it became apparent that the defense attorney’s continued representation of the defendant presented a conflict of interest. Therefore, the state of Ohio, by counsel, and the defendant, personally and by counsel, jointly moved for mistrial. The Court declared a mistrial with respect to all counts of the indictment.”

Following the filing of this judgment entry, the speedy trial time limits resumed and a journal entry was not filed in this case until early this year when the court ordered that this matter be scheduled for a pre-trial conference on June 16 and a jury trial be scheduled on Monday, June 23.

On Monday, Owens appeared with his defense counselors Charles Knight and William Eachus, while Marianne Hemmeter of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office again appeared representing the State of Ohio.

Following three days of testimony, including testimony from the victim, the jury received the case on Wednesday afternoon. However, following deliberations, the jury was sent home on Wednesday evening and was ordered to return to the court on Thursday morning where deliberations continued.

Just prior to 3 p.m. on Thursday, the jury returned with its verdict, finding the defendant not guilty of two counts of first degree felony rape and guilty to a third-degree-felony charge of gross sexual imposition.

Following a short recess, the court reconvened and, upon the recommendation of the State of Ohio, the defendant’s bond was revoked. According to Judge Ward, the defendant will be held under a $25,000, bond with a second own recognizance bond.

He was remanded to the custody of the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office following the hearing.

A pre-sentence investigation was ordered to be completed and sentencing will be scheduled following the preparation of the pre-sentence investigation in approximately 2-3 weeks.

According to the Ohio Revised Code, the defendant could be sentenced to up to three years of imprisonment for gross sexual imposition and will be classified as a Tier II sex offender.