Wednesday, Sep 28, 2016
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Ohio crime lab expert testifies about cell phone conversations in Steubenville rape case

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From left, Defense attorney Adam Nemann, his client, defendant Trent Mays, 17, defendant 16-year-old Ma'lik Richmond and his attorney, Walter Madison, listen to testimony during Mays and Richmond's trial on rape charges in juvenile court in Steubenville, Ohio.

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A forensics expert with Ohio's crime lab testified this afternoon about the content of some of the 17 cell phones seized by police after the alleged rape of a 16-year girl by two Steubenville High School football players last summer.

Investigators took the phones in August from the two players, Trent Mays and Malik Richmond, and 15 of their friends who attended a series of drunken parties.

Investigators were able to recover only two photos of the naked girl from Trent's phone and none depicting any sex acts.

But witnesses have testified that the group sent many texts and images in the aftermath of the incident.

The trial is in its second day and may extend into Sunday.

The forensics expert, JoAnn Gibb, testifying for the prosecution, zeroed in this afternoon on Trent's cell phone and the text messages he sent and received.

On Aug. 12, she said, a day after the alleged rape, someone texted Trent: "Did you have sex with her?"

He texted back, "Yep."

The prosecution contends that the girl was too intoxicated to consent to sex. Attorneys for the boys say they will prove she was alert and able to give consent.

Ms. Gibb also retrieved information from the alleged victim's cell phone that bolstered the prosecution's claims.

She received a text from a friend, Anthony Craig, who attended the parties where the alleged assaults occurred. He told her what had happened the previous night, and she replied, "Who did that to me?"

He was evasive and then texted, "I flipped out on them," meaning he attempted to stop others from abusing her.

She replied: "Thanks. I hate my life. I don't even know what the (expletive) happened."

In another series of texts, she said, Mark Cole, whose house was among those that a crowd of teens visited the night of Aug. 11, asked Trent why he was sending text pictures of the naked girl.

"Quit sending. That will get (us) in deep (expletive)."

In still another exchange, Anthony Craig texted Trent and asked what had happened to the girl.

Trent replied: "She came through, she brought food, she (had sex). She knew what's up."

"You are a felon," Anthony wrote.

"Not really," Trent replied.

Block News Alliance consists of The Blade and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Torsten Ove is a reporter for the Post-Gazette.

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