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MAHONING COUNTY Rape case is delayed a while longer



Published: Wed, February 16, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The defendant made news when he helped a cop killer get out of town.

YOUNGSTOWN -- After nearly 11 months in jail, Forrest A. Rupp Jr. has to wait a bit more to find out whether his rape charge will proceed or be dismissed over a speedy trial violation.

Rupp, 25, of Poland, has been in jail since March 25, 2004, held on a probation violation based on the rape allegation. He wasn't indicted on the rape charge until June 17, 2004.

Rupp, who did not sign a speedy trial waiver, maintains his constitutional rights have been violated.

A person who does not waive his right to speedy trial must come to trial within 270 days if not in jail. If in jail, the time limit shrinks to 90 days.

Rupp appeared for a hearing Tuesday afternoon in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court. Judge Jack Durkin explained to Rupp that the hearing was to consider Boardman attorney Thomas E. Zena's motion to withdraw from the case, which the judge granted.

New attorney

Rupp's sister informed the court that another attorney, Mark Carfolo, has been retained. Zena said he would turn over Rupp's file immediately to the new lawyer.

Judge Durkin told Rupp that a motion to dismiss the rape charge, based on speedy trial violation, was filed Sept. 29, 2004, the day trial was to begin. Since then, a hearing on the matter has been postponed three times, once because the judge was in trial, once because Zena was in trial and the last time because there wasn't enough time to hold a hearing with two subpoenaed witnesses on the day it was set.

The judge said a status hearing will be set within two weeks.

Rupp told the judge that if a hearing on speedy trial isn't held soon he wants to proceed to trial. He said there is no evidence that he committed rape.

In March 2004, a 22-year-old New Waterford woman told Rupp's parole officer and then Austintown police that Rupp forced her to have sex with him in her car at an apartment complex, records show. He acknowledges they had sex but says it was consensual.

Andrea Dean, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokesman in Columbus, has said the Adult Parole Authority hold on Rupp, which keeps him in jail, remains in effect until his rape case is resolved.

Koliser connection

In April 2003, Rupp made news as one of four men who helped cop killer Martin L. Koliser Jr. get out of town. Koliser, found guilty of ambushing Patrolman Michael T. Hartzell, is on death row.

Rupp served about 90 days of a three-year prison sentence for obstructing justice in the Koliser case. After release in November 2003, Rupp was placed on three years' probation. He's also on probation until 2007 for an unrelated aggravated robbery conviction.

Rupp is on probation to common pleas Judge James C. Evans for both the robbery and obstruction convictions.




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