Wheeling rape trial ends with hung jury
WHEELING, W.Va. - The fate of Martins Ferry man accused of sexual assault against his brother's girlfriend is still undetermined after a trial that lasted almost 3 days and a jury of five women and seven men were unable to decide whether or not the suspect actually committed the crime, or whether the victim just regretted a bad decision.
It's unclear whether or not Dustin Hutchison will be prosecuted again for second degree sexual assault after Thursday's hung jury.
Prosecutors claim Hutchison forced a woman into sex, and when she said no, he didn't stop. His defense claims it was a plot of jealousy that went sour and a case of regret.
The 20-year-old girl had never met the defendant until that day, but the defense says she was trying to make her boyfriend jealous. They claim she later regretted the decision to have sex with Hutchison when she feared she might be pregnant.
"She had a plan to make her boyfriend jealous," defense attorney Keith Hart said. "When she screamed, "Austin come help me, come act like a jealous boyfriend, he didn't respond. It seems her planned flipped on her and didn't work out very well."
The alleged victim also took the stand, seeming timid and unable to understand some of the questions about the alleged rape, and also stating she did say no.
Prosecutors say Dustin Hutchison took advantage of a naive girl, forcing her to have sex while his brother listened, too afraid to intervene.
"What 3 feet away, 5 feet away?" Ohio County Assistant Prosecutor Shawn Turak asked. "And she's screaming, "get him off me, he's hurting me, get him off me he's hurting me!'"
Dustin Hutchison never admitting to any crime, but saying he repeatedly asked the alleged victim if she was, "alright?"
He never took the stand, but a recording of his interview with West Virginia State Police was played in the courtroom.
"She didn't show any signs of resistance," he said. "She just seemed really uncomfortable about the entire situation."
It is unclear when a new trial will be scheduled for Hutchison. The victim has moved away.