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MAHONING COUNTY COURT Rape suspect pushes for dismissal



Published: Tue, August 20, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The suspect could get life if he's convicted of any of the rape counts.

By BOB JACKSON

VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Atty. Paul Conn says prosecutors have taken too long to bring Kevin Brown to trial, so the rape charges against him should be dismissed.

Assistant Prosecutor Deena Calabrese said her office has followed the law and still has plenty of time to get the case before a jury.

Judge James C. Evans of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court will decide who is right.

Brown, 45, of Howard Street, was indicted a year ago on four counts of rape. He could be sentenced to life in prison if he's convicted of any count.

Victim is child

Authorities say Brown raped a 6-year-old girl he knew at his house in June 2001. He has pleaded innocent and is being held in the county jail.

Conn said prosecutors should have tried the case by now, because Brown has not agreed to waive his right to a speedy trial.

He agreed that Brown's former lawyer, Mark Lavelle, asked for three continuances last year, but he said that doesn't qualify as a time waiver.

DNA testing

He also criticized the prosecutor's office for waiting six months to seek hair and blood samples from Brown to be used for DNA testing.

"It's time to make the state put up or shut up," Conn said. "We're ready to go to trial today if they want to do it."

Calabrese said Lavelle needed the continuances because he was involved in a death-penalty murder case last year in Trumbull County.

"What were we supposed to do, go up there and grab Mr. Lavelle and bring him back here to try this case? That's ridiculous," Calabrese said.

Calabrese said she had to wait for results of a preliminary medical examination conducted on the victim, to see whether there was evidence that could be tested for DNA. To have sought the samples without probable cause would have violated Brown's civil rights, she said, noting she thinks the state has until the end of September to try the case.

The matter was set for trial Monday, but Calabrese said she's still awaiting the DNA results, which is an allowable reason for delay. The results should be available within a week.

bjackson@vindy.com




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