MARIETTA - The prosecution rested its case Wednesday after the first day of the testimony in the trial of former Lowell resident Larry G. Blair, who is accused of raping a family member.
The trial is expected to wrap up today after the defense presents its witnesses.
Blair was charged with first-degree felony rape and faces up to 11 years in prison.
Photo by Jasmine Rogers
Sgt. Scott Mankins, right, of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office verifies to Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Rings that he is holding an accurate copy of the sworn statement of Larry G. Blair, who is on trial for rape.
Washington County prosecutors called six witness Wednesday, beginning with the 38-year-old alleged victim. Through sobs and with a quiet voice, she recalled to jurors her version of events as they took place Feb. 10 and 11, the time frame of the alleged rape.
After a night of drinking at The Four Season and The Locker Room, the victim willingly returned with Blair, her uncle, to his residence at 565 Fleming Road, Lowell. The victim said she conversed with Blair and his brother about "normal family stuff."
"Was there any talk about you and the defendant having sexual relations?" asked Washington County Assistant Prosecutor Kevin Rings.
The victim maintained there was not.
Blair did not ask, but rather ordered his brother to go to bed, she said. Then as she was trying to use the restroom, Blair overpowered and raped her, said the victim.
When asked by Rings if she screamed for help during the attacks, the victim answered that she did so at least three times.
Blair's defense attorneys did not directly question the victim as to why Blair's brother Daniel, who commonly goes by Jake, did not hear her cries or come to her rescue. However, defense attorney Shawna Landaker did reiterate that a struggle would have caused noise.
Jake was not called upon Wednesday to testify and it is not known if the defense will call him today.
Sgt. Scott Mankins with the Washington County Sheriff's Office said while testifying that Jake noted in his statement that he had gone to bed that night with both the radio and his breathing apparatus turned on.
Mankins also mentioned that sometime after the initial allegations, he received an email from Washington County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Mark Warden saying that Jake wanted to talk to him. However, Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Susan Boyer did not allow Mankins to elaborate on what Jake wanted to discuss.
Mankins testified that the victim contacted the sheriff's office the morning after the rape and submitted to a rape kit at Marietta Memorial Hospital. Mankins and another officer questioned Blair that same day. Blair denied having any sexual contact with the victim, both verbally and in a sworn deposition, but did agree to have his home searched and allowed officers to take a DNA swab, said Mankins.
DNA samples were also taken from the rape kit. The sexual assault nurse examiner, or SANE nurse, who performed the rape kit also testified, saying the victim was visibly upset and crying at the hospital that day.
The nurse testified that she did not find any significant injuries on the victim, but said that in her experience physical injuries and rape cases do not always go hand in hand.
A forensic scientist for the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation testified about the link between the swab voluntarily given by Blair and that produced by the rape kit.
"We were able to successfully separate the DNA samples and provide one that matched the victim's known sample and one that matched the defendant's known sample," said forensic scientist Heather Bizub of the evidence provided by the rape kit.
The BCI does not go so far as to implicitly say a DNA sample belongs to one individual, but it does give a rarity statistic. The DNA in Blair's case has a one in 403 quintillion likelihood of being duplicated in someone else, officials said.
"I think it's a million trillions," said Bizub when asked to explain the number.
Two of the victim's friends also testified. The first had been drinking with the victim the night the rape occurred and said the woman had been drinking but wasn't drunk.
The other friend testified that the victim had woken her up in the early morning hours after the alleged rape, crying and pounding on her door.
The trial resumes at 9 a.m. today in Washington County Common Pleas Judge Susan Boyer's courtroom.