The jury trial for Paul Carter, 54, of Hillsboro, formerly of West Union, started on Monday, July 28, in the Adams County Court of Common Pleas presided over by Judge Brett Spencer.
The jury selection process took all of Monday to complete as one of the largest pools of potential jurors were present. By the end of the day, however, a jury of 12 citizens was confirmed and sworn in for the trial.
Carter stands accused of one count of rape with a specification, one count of rape, and one count of sexual battery, involving two victims that were minors at the time of the incidents. The alleged incidents occurred on separate occasions with the first being in 1999, and the most recent in 2007.
The second day of the trial began with procedural hearings regarding the particulars of the trial, before moving to the opening statements. Assistant Prosecutor Kris Blanton presented the opening statements on behalf of the Adams County Prosecutor’s Office.
“As I said before, there are three counts against Paul Carter,” Blanton said. “I expect the evidence is going to show through several witnesses today and tomorrow that, in count one specifically, Paul Carter engaged in sexual conduct with a minor.”
Jon Hapner, the counsel for the defendant, then rose to address the jury with his opening statements, arguing that the evidence that would be presented is unreliable.
“These incidents are alleged to have occurred six or seven years ago and some were 16 years ago,” Hapner said. “We expect the evidence to show that [the alleged victim], since the very early days, has shown signs of aberrant behavior. We will also show that [the alleged victim] cannot be believed, and that she has made various, false accusations against people.”
Twice during the defense’s opening statements, the prosecution objected and the counsel was asked to have a conference with the judge at the bench.
Once the opening statements were finished, the trial proceeded with the calling of three witnesses for the prosecution, including one of the alleged victims and an investigator. The prosecution expects to call up to three witnesses on Wednesday, July 30, before resting. The defense expects that they will call up to ten witnesses, and that the hearing of evidence should be done by the end of Wednesday. The court is expecting closing statements and a verdict to be given on Thursday.