Testimony in rape trial continues

STEUBENVILLE — Spending more than an hour listening to a prior interview this morning did not help a defense witness in the Steubenville rape case remember incidents that allegedly occurred on a mid-August night.

Gianna Anile said the recording did not refresh her memory of the night in question when testimony resumed in front of visiting Judge Thomas Lipps at the Jefferson County Justice Center. As a result, that interview was not entered into evidence.

Her testimony came in the fourth day of the trial of Trent Mays, 17, of Bloomingdale and Ma’Lik Richmond, 16, of Steubenville, who have been charged with rape in connection with an incident involving a 16-year-old Weirton girl that allegedly occurred on the night of Aug. 11-12. Mays also faces a charge of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material for allegedly having a picture of the alleged victim in an outgoing message on his cell phone. Attorneys for both defendants have denied the charges.

Under a limited cross-examination by the prosecution, Anile, a student at Weirton Madonna High School, testified that she had been around the alleged victim previously when she had passed out from alcohol consumption. When asked by prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter what has happened to the alleged victim when she has passed out before, Anile said, “You can shake her, but she doesn’t wake up.”

A second witness for the defense, also a Madonna student, was allowed to take the stand. Kelsey Weaver, 17, said she has known the alleged victim for the last 13 years. When asked by defense attorney Walter Madison, who represents Richmond, if the alleged victim was Weaver’s best friend, Weaver replied, “She was.”

Weaver testified to transporting the alleged victim to a party in Steubenville. She said went to Cammy Belardine’s house on Wilma Avenue and then drove Belardine’s grandmother from the Wilma Avenue residence to the grandmother’s home in Mingo Junction.

Weaver also testified to later being at the party in question and that she knew about Mays from the alleged victim. When at the party, Weaver testified to saying to the alleged victim, “There’s your boy,” referring to Mays. The alleged victim replied, “Yeah, I know,” according to Weaver’s testimony.

Weaver then asked, “Have you kissed, yet?” to which the alleged victim reportedly replied, “No, not yet.”

Weaver testified to being the “water girl” that evening because she had a cup of water that night and consumed no alcohol.

Later in the evening, Weaver testified she left the party and went to a neighboring home, where she planned to spend the evening. The alleged victim remained behind, she testified, after repeatedly telling Weaver that she did not want to go.

Under examination by Madison, Weaver said at one point the alleged victim was, “All over him, kind of,” referring to her interaction with Richmond.

Weaver also testified that she was reluctant to testify or answer questions about the incident, saying, “I didn’t want to be involved.”

Weaver indicated that she grew upset with the alleged victim because there were two versions from her about what happened that night.

Under cross-examination by Brian Duncan, who is one of two attorneys representing Mays, Weaver described the alleged victim as being very drunk because, “She announced it, was loud and laughing, rolling around on the floor and taking a bunch of pictures with people.”

Weaver said she was not present at Mark Cole’s house outside Winterville and was a not a witness to any of the incidents that allegedly occurred there.

The third witness for the defense, Kim Fromme, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, was presented as an expert witness and started testimony concerning the affects of alcohol on the way information is processed in the brain.

Meanwhile, a candlelight vigil in support of the alleged victim has been scheduled for 8 p.m. today in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse.

The trial, which began Wednesday, is scheduled to continue into Sunday and could run into Monday, courtroom observers indicated.