8:24 AM, Mar 17, 2013   |    comments
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STEUBENVILLE -- This was a massive case to plow through for Jefferson County Juvenile Court, over 30 witnesses, hundreds of pieces of evidence and marathon court sessions, the longest of which 13 and a half hours.

The ultimate decision will change the future for three young people whose one night of drinking forever ruined reputations , friendships, and brought shame to this small but proud Ohio River community.

The very photos and YouTube videos circulated for amusement could be the difference in this most serious rape case.

"When she was falling down, when she was picked up, and carried who are the two people who are always there? Mal'ik Richmond and Trent Mays," Prosecutor Brian Decker said.

Defendants Ma'lik Richmond and Trent Mays, two star players on Steubenville's Big Red football team are on trial for rape.

If convicted, they could spend up to five years in juvenile detention and be labeled sexual predators deep into their adult years.

"I find it hard to believe that no one would do anything or say anything to even send a text message, " defense attorney Adam Nemann said.

In closing, Mays' attorney told Judge Thomas Lipps that, for all the texting and tweeting about the 16-year-old alleged victim, no one helped because no one felt she was in trouble.

"I woke up with no clothes on. I didn't know what happened at all," the alleged victim said.

By all accounts, the girl was was the most intoxicated at the party. The prosecution says she was twice molested, that it happened in teammate Mark Cole's car and basement, that testimony and photos indicate at the time she was passed out.

"It was really scary. I was embarrassed and scared. I didn't know what to think. I couldn't remember," the girl testified.

The defense maintains this was consensual. Before the photos, the two were seen together at the party.

"They were cuddling, they were holding hands, they were hugging and kissing, holding hands," Nemann said.

Her two former friends testified the girl is not to be trusted.

"I'm not saying it. I'm not blaming or smearing this witness. Her friends told this court she has a reputation for telling lies," defense attorney Walter Madisan said.

The past is not on trial here. Instead, the future of three teenagers who are discovering some hard lessons about growing up.

"This case is about a little girl that was taken advantage of, toyed with and humiliated, and it's time that the people that did that to her are held responsible," Prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter said.

Judge Lipps wanted time to go over the evidence, testimony and his own notes before rendering a verdict.

That decision will come Sunday morning at 10 a.m.


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