WILMINGTON, Ohio — Jurors hearing Larry Casey’s trial have heard three days of testimony and arguments, and entered deliberations Thursday just before 5 p.m.
Casey, of Gallipolis and a former police officer in southwestern Ohio, was indicted in 2015 for allegedly raping a minor. Ohio Valley Publishing doesn’t identify minor victims of alleged sex crimes.
Initially, Casey was indicted for a dozen sex-related crimes, including rape, sexual battery and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. He’s also charged with allegedly failing to report a change in his address, which was required after his 2010 conviction for sexual battery resulted in Casey registering as a sex offender.
Wednesday, prosecutors dropped three of those charges. Now, Casey is charged with failing to report change of address, three counts of rape, four counts of sexual battery and one count of unlawful sexual conduct.
The jury left the Clinton County courthouse around 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Jury members will resume deliberations Friday morning.
While Casey isn’t being tried for what he did to the confirmed victim, those events were integral to testimony this week. The victims knew each other and share similar details, and prosecution and defense relied on those events to demonstrate Casey’s character.
Through testimony and arguments, special prosecutor Eric Michener, from the Ohio Attorney General’s office, painted an image of Casey as a man who allegedly lied to authorities when he was caught with his first victim, who allegedly lied to neighbors about what he did, and who was allegedly lying to the jury.
One disputed detail was whether Casey lied to police. Michener said he did because a transcript showed a Blanchester police officer asking how many times Casey had sex with the first victim and Casey saying once. In court, Casey said three times, including oral sex.
When Casey testified in court, he said the officer only wanted to know about that specific night in which he had sex once.
Michener said testimonies from Casey’s landlord and neighbor showed that Casey was willing to lie about what he was convicted of when it suited him by saying, for instance, that he didn’t do it but pleaded guilty to keep the confirmed victim from having to testify.
Clinton County Public Defender Rob Baker said Casey minimized what he did to neighbors and his landlord because he was ashamed, but he never lied to authorities and even confessed to a Blanchester police officer.
“Larry told the truth the night authorities came,” Baker said.
Baker further said that the alleged victim only came forward when she was fed up with Casey but not when the crimes occurred years ago or when Casey was investigated previously.
“To say she didn’t feel safe (to come forward) … is a mischaracterization.
“Why would she do this?” Baker asked the jury. “She’s telling a story. … We ask you to find him not guilty.”
Michener, in closing, said details from the two victims lined up and alleged that Casey did the same acts and used the “same tired excuse,” alleging a conspiracy theory between both victims and another person.
Michener said Casey was “despicable” because of his alleged lies, adding that he only admitted the first incident to police because that victim came forward.
“It’s time to hold him accountable,” Michener said.
In addition to closing arguments, the jury heard expert testimony about a number of items, including the time between the accusations and the alleged victim coming forward, the demeanor a victim of sexual abuse might have and whether there would be physical evidence years after sexual abuse.
It should be noted that Casey never served as a police officer in Gallipolis or Gallia County.
Reach Nathan Kraatz at 937-556-5766 or on Twitter @NathanKraatz.