Uintah County Sheriff’s Office by way of Associated Press
This mixture of record pictures launched via the Uintah County Sheriff’s Office presentations Larson RonDeau, from left, Randall Flatlip and Jerry Flatlip.
SALT LAKE CITY — Three males accused of raping a 9-year-old girl close to Vernal greater than two years in the past have been found not guilty on all fees Wednesday.
Larson RonDeau, 38, Randall Flatlip, 28, and Jerry Flatlip, 31, have been visibly relieved because the verdicts have been learn, some hugging their lawyers and some other leaning over and thanking his attorney.
The acquittals finish a drawn-out procedure that began in 2016 in Uintah County and noticed the case moved two times – together with a well-publicized transfer to Summit County that led to a mistrial because of an absence of other people reporting for jury accountability – prior to finishing up in Salt Lake County. All 3 males have remained in custody since their arrests.
“They spent more than two years out of their lives with their liberty removed from them, and they didn’t do it. The jury was pretty clear,” protection lawyer Loni DeLand stated after the verdicts have been learn.
On Easter Sunday 2016 in a rural space out of doors of Vernal, a tender girl, now 11, claimed she was once gang-raped via a minimum of 3 males whilst her mom did medicine in some other room.
But as protection lawyers for every shopper identified to jurors, there was once no DNA proof. The whole case got here all the way down to a she-said/they-said scenario.
“Not a shred of physical evidence. No DNA or anything,” DeLand famous.
“I’ve never thought from the beginning that they’ve had a likelihood of winning,” protection lawyer Brian Sidwell added after the decision. “There was no DNA. They found DNA but it didn’t match any of our clients. When we started getting doctor reports back (that said), ‘Hey, this is just not medically probable, that if everything she is saying is true (then) there would be some type of evidence or physical injury to her.”
Based at the proof, Sidwell stated the case will have to have by no means been filed, or fees will have to were dropped prior to it were given to trial.
Uintah County Attorney Mark Thomas stated he revered the jury’s choice.
“As prosecutors, we would like to have a case where we have an overwhelming amount of evidence. Sometimes we do just have to rely on what people tell us,” he stated. “In this case, we have a young girl who I consider gave compelling testimony, a compelling statement. If the jury did not find it compelling, that’s, again, something the jury has to weigh.”
As for a imaginable cause for making the rape allegations, protection lawyers were not positive. Sidwell speculated the girl’s mom, who admitted she was once on a “meth high” all through the alleged occasions and dealing with her personal prison time, coaxed her daughter into making up the tale. Another principle was once the girl was once offended at her former boyfriend, Jerry Flatlip, in keeping with the protection.
After last arguments have been delivered via DeLand on Tuesday, Sidwell stated his shopper, Jerry Flatlip, thanked him.
“He said this is the first time in two years that I feel like somebody has stood up and told my side of the story to someone,” Sidwell stated.
The jury, which started deliberating Tuesday afternoon prior to going house for the evening, reconvened at nine a.m. on Wednesday. They introduced that they had reached a verdict lower than 15 mins later.
The 3 males will now should be transported again to Vernal prior to they’re formally launched from custody.
Randall Flatlip, alternatively, might stay in custody for some other case. Following his arrest as phase of the rape investigation, kid pornography was once allegedly came upon and he was once charged with 74 counts of exploitation of a kid, all second-degree felonies. He is scheduled to be again in court docket on that case on Tuesday.
Jerry Flatlip and RonDeau additionally face a price of kid abuse, a third-degree prison, and are scheduled to be again in court docket May 22. Sidwell, alternatively, stated it was once all phase of the similar episode because the case they have been simply acquitted on, and lawyers will probably be transferring for the fees to be brushed aside according to double jeopardy.