XENIA — A Greene County jury will head to the courthouse first thing tomorrow, Wednesday, Sept. 27 to continue deliberating in the rape trial for a Fairborn man.
The jury directed their attention to the witness stand during the second day of trial Sept. 26, hearing from witnesses for the defense including the 24-year-old defendant, Dakota Lacey.
Lacey is being tried for rape, gross sexual imposition and importuning. He is accused of raping a 12-year-old in his Fairborn home during Christmas break last year.
But according to his attorney Patrick Mulligan, the timeline just doesn’t make sense.
“The problem? The problem for the state is … the one thing [victim] is most clear about she is dead wrong on. The problem is all evidence goes against her,” Mulligan said.
The victim, now 13, testified that the alleged sexual events happened around 6 p.m. Dec. 23.
“Her story gets crushed by the facts,” Mulligan said.
Witnesses for the defense testified that the victim and Lacey were elsewhere at that time, and that they were never left alone together that day. Lacey said he was at his cousin’s house.
“[Victim] is 12 — of course her times are going to be off,” assistant prosecutor Cheri Stout said during closing arguments. “She didn’t keep a diary, she wasn’t looking at a watch every second of every day.”
Stout asked each witness if they had volunteered any of the information about Lacey’s whereabouts to Fairborn Police Department Detective Shaun Pettit. They all responded that they hadn’t.
“Never once did they come forward until today,” Stout said.
According to testimony from Lacey, he was a tow truck driver during the Christmas break in question. Weeks later, he had just started a new job in the electrical wiring field when he received a call from the girl. She told him she was going to talk to her school counselor about what had happened between them.
Lacey did not know that the call had been set up by the Fairborn Police Department and was being recorded.
“No, don’t, I’ll go to jail, [victim],” Lacey replied into the phone. “I’ll go to [expletive] prison, you don’t understand. I didn’t mean for that to happen. I was high.”
In the call, Lacey said he didn’t know what had happened and that he was sorry.
Mulligan admitted to the jury that the defendant did not handle the call well. He suggested that Lacey was “caught flat footed” and that he thought he could go to jail for allowing the girl to smoke marijuana.
Lacey agreed, stating that he was confused but that he was mostly concerned he would lose his job.
“I was basically trying to hang up and get off the phone. I was scared that if I lost my job I would lose my wife and child,” he said.
The defense also brought up a series of Facebook messages between Lacey and the victim. Allegedly, she was sending the defendant friendly messages around 8 p.m. that night.
“Two hours after supposedly being raped — a heart emoji. Is that what you send to the guy who raped you? Cut me a break. That’s insulting,” Mulligan told the jury.
Mulligan also called a physician to the stand who had examined the girl at Dayton Children’s Hospital. The doctor found no signs of injury, but also said it was not unusual to find zero signs of trauma after a sexual assault.
According to Stout, the victim would not have gone through the exam if she was making up a story.
“The defense counsel wants you to believe that this is something she is doing to get even with the defendant,” Stout said to the jury. “Ask yourself if that is what a 13-year-old is going to do, if she’s going to go to the doctor, if she’s going to have an exam … ask yourself if that is what a 13-year-old does, then comes here and tells you the details …”
Mulligan said the lack of evidence means the crime is not proven.
“What’s the most important thing in your life?” he asked the jury in closing. “Whatever is the most important thing in your life is more important than a single paycheck. So ask yourself a question. Would you bet a paycheck on this evidence? Because if you’re not willing to, you haven’t even come close to beyond a reasonable doubt. Not even close. That’s how big the standard is. That’s how high the burden is, a hurdle, that the state has to jump over.”
Stout went back to the jury.
“All the evidence you need is from [victim] herself,” she said.
The jury deliberated for four hours before going home.
If convicted, Lacey is facing 10 years to life in prison. Court records indicate he has no prior criminal history.
Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498.
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