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Retrial set for 58-year-old man convicted of rape

YOUNGSTOWN — Todd W. Perkins, 58, of Coitsville Hubbard Road, who was freed from prison by an appeals court ruling after being convicted of two child rapes, will be retried starting Tuesday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

Perkins pleaded guilty to two child rapes in May of 2021 before Judge Maureen Sweeney and was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. But his lawyers filed an appeal, saying Sweeney should have agreed to separate the cases involving the two children because a jury hearing testimony about both alleged victims “would infer (Perkins’) guilt from one case to the other,” according to the ruling.

Perkins’ lawyers cited a criminal rule that states that even if indictments are properly joined initially, “a separate trial should be ordered if it appears that” trying offenses involving two alleged victims together would be unfair to the defendant.

The 7th District Court of Appeals ruled in August 2022 in Perkins’ favor. Perkins contended that the only reason he entered a guilty plea in his case was because Sweeney refused to separate the allegations into two trials, the ruling noted. Perkins maintained that he did not commit any of the offenses, it added.

A day after the appellate court ruling, the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office filed a notice of appeal with the Ohio Supreme Court, but the state high court refused to hear the case, meaning the lower court decision remained in effect.

A hearing on motions in the Perkins case will be Monday with jury selection starting Tuesday.

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