2013 rape trial to start today

YOUNGSTOWN — A jury was selected Monday in the rape trial of Franklin C. Herns, 29, accused of raping a woman in 2013 in Youngstown.

Judge Anthony Donofrio of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court is presiding over the trial. Opening statements and the first evidence are expected to begin today.

Attorney Nick Cerni, who represents Herns, filed a motion asking that the judge suppress certain evidence in the case on the grounds that Herns’ due-process rights are being violated because Herns was not charged until 2022 on 2013 allegations.

Specifically, Cerni alleged that cellphone records of calls or messages are no longer available between Herns and the alleged victim that would have shown that Herns was “invited” to come to the woman’s home, and that “any sexual conduct was consensual.”

The delay in prosecuting the case resulted in evidence helpful to Herns no longer being available, Cerni stated in his filing. Donofrio overruled Cerni’s motion earlier this month.

Caitlyn Andrews, county assistant prosecutor, told Donofrio in a filing that Herns’ indictment was delayed because the DNA evidence was not obtained until years after the victim first reported the incident. That is a “justifiable reason” for delaying the case, Andrews stated.


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