Probable cause hearing set

STEUBENVILLE – A probable cause hearing is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Friday in juvenile court for two Steubenville High School students and athletes charged in an August rape.

Trent Mays, 16, of Bloomingdale has been charged with one count of rape, one count of kidnapping and one count of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material. Ma’lik Richmond, 16, of Steubenville, was charged with one count of rape and one count of kidnapping.

Visiting Judge Tom Lipps ruled on Sept. 14 the two juveniles would remain in the juvenile detention center pending the hearing.

A motion had been filed for the cases against Mays and Richmond to be transferred to the adult division of common pleas court.

If Lipps determines there is probable cause for the case to move forward, juvenile court will conduct a study to determine if the teens are amenable to rehabilitation in the juvenile court system.

The judge previously noted there is a low standard of proof in a probable cause hearing. A second hearing, if warranted, will be held to determine guilt or innocence.

The juveniles face up to 10 years in prison on the rape charge and up to eight years in prison if tried as adults. They can be held in a juvenile facility until they are 21 if the case is kept in juvenile court.

The juveniles also face sex offender reporting requirements. Lipps said they may be required to report their address to the county sheriff every 90 days for the rest of their lives.

Richmond is being represented by attorney Walter Madison, who has offices in Akron and Youngstown. Mays is being represented by attorneys Brian K. Duncan and Adam Nemann, both of Columbus.

Assistant Attorney General Marianne Hemmeter and Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Brumby, both with the Ohio Attorney General’s Crimes Against Children unit, were assigned to the case after Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin stepped aside. Jefferson County Juvenile Judge Sam Kerr asked the Ohio Supreme Court to appoint a visiting judge. Lipps is a retired juvenile judge in Hamilton County.

Defense attorneys argued at a prior hearing there was a lack of evidence in the case.

Police began an investigation after parents came to the police station on Aug. 14 to report a sexual assault involving their daughter.

Brumby said the attorney general’s office and the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation have been diligently working gathering and reviewing evidence. Cell phones have been seized in the case that may contain evidence.

“The state is working as quickly as possible. (The state) is in possession of witness statements who viewed criminal conduct,” she said at a prior hearing.