60 witnesses may be called

STEUBENVILLE -About 60 witnesses may be called during the trial of two Steubenville High School student-athletes scheduled to start Wednesday in juvenile court in the Jefferson County Justice Center.

Trent Mays, 16, of Bloomingdale and Ma’Lik Richmond, 16, of Steubenville have been charged with rape in connection with an incident that allegedly happened 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 victim in an outgoing text message on his cell phone. Attorneys for both defendants have denied the charges.

Judge Tom Lipps, a retired Hamilton County juvenile court judge, will preside over the trial and make the sole determination of guilt or innocence.

The trial will go through at least Friday and Lipps has said court will he held on Saturday and even Sunday if necessary.

The attorney general’s office was called to prosecute the case after Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin stepped aside. Marianne Hemmeter and Brian Deckert, assistant attorney generals are expected to call 28 witnesses.

Mays is represented by attorneys Brian Duncan and Adam Nemann. They are expected to call 19 witnesses.

Richmond is represented by attorney Walter Madison, who is expected to call about a dozen witnesses. Lipps permitted Madison to hire a private investigator to help in interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence.

The victim will testify. Witnesses at a prior hearing said the girl was highly intoxicated and barely could walk.

City Police juvenile detective Jean-Philippe Rigaud, who has since left to work with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, testified the victim couldn’t say if she was raped because she couldn’t remember what happened.

Juvenile court is taking special precautions during the trial and security is expected to be tight around the justice center. A protest is planned at the Jefferson County Courthouse during the trial.

The witnesses also will include three teens who were at the house where the alleged rape occurred – Mark Cole, 17, Anthony Craig, 18, and Evan Westlake, 17.

Nodianos, who is seen in a 12-minute YouTube video making comments about the alleged rape, also is expected to testify. His attorney, Dennis McNamara in January said Nodianos wasn’t at the house where the alleged rape occurred.

The Ohio National Organization for Women and UltraViolet, another women’s right organization, presented a petition to Ohio Attorney Mike DeWine demanding Nodianos be charged with failure to report a crime.

DeWine said earlier this month his office will announce after the rape trial of Mays and Richmond whether charges will be brought against others. DeWine said his office is continuing its investigation of the incident.

Media outlets from around the state, nation and even international news media is expected to attend the trial.