Accused rapist appears in court

By John W. Goodwin Jr.


Newell Spann is set for trial in June on rape charges, but he is asking a judge to disallow certain items into evidence, including certain statements made to police and an item of clothing.

Spann, 34, of Helena Avenue is charged with rape, kidnapping and aggravated burglary. His case is before Judge John M. Durkin of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

Spann, with his attorney John Juhasz, was before the judge for an evidence- suppression hearing Thursday.

Judge Durkin said there will be a ruling early next week on the defense motion to suppress the evidence.

Prosecutors say Spann went to the house of a former girlfriend in July 2011 when the 36-year-old woman was not home and waited for her to return. When the woman came home, prosecutors say, Spann assaulted and raped her.

In testimony offered during the suppression hearing, Spann contended that any sexual contact between himself and the purported victim was consensual.

Nicholas Brevetta, an assistant county prosecutor, said the victim in the case managed to use pepper spray on Spann at some point during the reported attack. The pepper spray led to one of the statements Spann is hoping to have the court disallow for trial.

Brevetta said Spann made comments about the effects of pepper spray to Youngstown police shortly after being arrested.

The hearing centered on comments Spann purportedly made to police just before he was taken into custody and an article of clothing taken from his home by arresting officer John Aeppli.

Aeppli testified he was sent to the victim’s home the day of the purported attack, but before he could make it to the woman’s home, he was redirected to Spann’s home because Spann had fled the victim’s home wearing a pair of orange shorts.

Aeppli said he made it to Spann’s house and had a conversation with him on the front porch where Spann said he had consensual sex with the woman before he was placed under arrest.

Aeppli told the court Spann, who was barefoot, asked him to go into the house and get him a pair of shoes. The officer said he went to a bedroom in search of the shoes where he noticed the orange shorts fitting the description of the shorts Spann was wearing when he left the woman’s house. Aeppli took the shorts as evidence.

Spann said the officer was lying in certain aspects of his testimony.

Spann took the stand and told the judge that Aeppli held him in custody, refusing to allow him to leave the porch even for a cigarette, without reading him his rights. He said the officer also questioned him about the purported attack without reading him his rights.

Spann said he did ask for a pair of shoes, but only gave the officer permission to go as far as a hallway inside the house to get the shoes. He said there was no need to go to a distant bedroom where the officer found the shorts.

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