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Published: Tuesday, 4/19/2011

Rape case ends in mistrial; man freed from jail

BOWLING GREEN -- Wood County prosecutors must decide whether to try again a Willoughby, Ohio, man whose jury trial on rape charges ended in a mistrial on the three most serious offenses.

After a week-long trial in Common Pleas Court, John McCullough, 25, was found guilty late Friday of possession of LSD, trafficking in marijuana, and possession of psilocilin. He was acquitted on charges of abduction and rape by mental impairment. But on three first-degree felony charges of rape by force, the jury could not reach a verdict, and a mistrial was declared.

McCullough was indicted last year on charges he sexually assaulted a 19-year-old woman student at Bowling Green State University's McDonald residence hall April 8, 2010.

Heather Baker, an assistant county prosecutor, said the prosecutor's office has not decided whether to re-try McCullough, although Judge Reeve Kelsey has scheduled a hearing Monday at which the matter is to be discussed.

In the meantime, Judge Kelsey ordered that McCullough could be released from the county jail on his own recognizance on the condition he stay with his mother in Willoughby, a Cleveland suburb. McCullough, who had been in jail on $75,000 bond for the last year, is to be sentenced on the drug charges June 20. He was released from jail yesterday.

McCullough's attorney, Andrew Schuman, said he suspects the jury was influenced in part by a BGSU surveillance video that showed both the victim and suspect freely coming and going from the dorm room at different times during the night in question. Mr. Schuman said the videotape also showed the victim returning the next day to her friends' dorm room where the rape allegedly occurred.

"No one goes back to the scene of the alleged crime the next morning and is seen smiling in the hall," Mr. Schuman said. "No one returns there voluntarily with their captor, their rapist, there the next day. It just belies reason."

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