Prosecutor says alleged victim fought suspect and told him 'no'

Last updated: March 28. 2014 9:56AM - 11178 Views
By - ashepherd@civitasmedia.com



Kristian Lovlie is pictured with defense attorney Kathryn Hapner on Thursday during a jury trial. Jurors later acquitted Lovlie of first-degree felony rape.
Kristian Lovlie is pictured with defense attorney Kathryn Hapner on Thursday during a jury trial. Jurors later acquitted Lovlie of first-degree felony rape.
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After deliberating for less than an hour Thursday, twelve jurors found a 19-year-old Hillsboro man not guilty of rape.
 
Kristian Lovlie received the pronouncement of the verdict with tears, and there was audible relief from his family members gathered in the courtroom.
 
Lovlie was charged with the first-degree felony offense in a November indictment.
 
The 16-year-old alleged victim testified on Thursday that she and Lovlie had dated for two or three months in 2012, but after the break-up, he kept trying to contact her and wanted to date her again. Last July when Lovlie was at her house, she said she told him, “We can hang out this last time. But after we hang out one last time, you don't know me, I don't know you.” She further testified that she thought this last bit of time together would “satisfy” him.
 
The girl went on to testify that Lovlie forced her to the floor and raped her while she attempted to fight him off by scratching, biting, and yelling. She said when he was finished, she told him to get out of her house. But she didn't tell an adult what happened until the next day.
 
When Highland County Prosecutor Anneka Collins asked her why, the teen said it was because she was afraid she would get into trouble, or even get blamed for what happened.
 
But defense attorney Kathryn Hapner, on cross examination, pointed out to the girl that she communicated with Lovlie through several text messages, telling the defendant to text her when he got to the house and also directing him where to park when he got there.
 
Hapner also raised questions in regard to a physical altercation with her father the day following the incident and getting sent to juvenile detention, but the answers to those questions were not permitted by Highland County Common Pleas Court Judge Rocky Coss to be detailed in testimony.
 
While the girl admitted that there was a physical altercation with her father, she said he did not leave bruises on her, and that he didn't touch her.
 
Highland County Sheriff's Office Detective Randy Sanders interviewed Lovlie two days after the incident and testified that Lovlie told him in the initial interview, as well as in a written statement, that the girl had invited him over to her house and that they had engaged in consensual sex.
 
Sanders also took pictures of scratches on Lovlie's torso.
 
But state's witness Ross County Sheriff's Office Detective Tony Wheaton testified that in a second interview and subsequent written statement, Lovlie admitted to forcible sex with the alleged victim in an attempt to express his continued love for her. Wheaton also said Lovlie acknowledged that bruises on the arm of the girl could have come from him.He further testified that Lovlie said “he was very sorry,” and admitted to being untruthful in previous interviews with law enforcement.
 
On cross examination by Hapner, Wheaton said that Lovlie never used the term “rape” to describe his interaction with the girl, either verbally or written.
 
Wheaton testified that he dictated the last paragraph of Lovlie's written statement to Lovlie as he wrote.
 
Lovlie was the sole witness called to the stand for the defense and testified that he followed his former girlfriend to her bedroom where candles were lit. He said that while he had been to her house before, he had never been inside.
 
The defendant told a story of consensual sex with the alleged victim.
 
Hapner showed photos of text messages on Lovlie's cell phone that were taken by Sanders.
 
On cross examination, Collins asked Lovlie if those texts were “an accurate representation” of the conversation, pointing out that Lovlie had deleted half of the texts, contending that he did so because the deleted messages would have hurt him.
 
Lovlie indicated that wasn't true, but admitted to deleting some of the messages.
 
Collins also asked why Lovlie's two statements to law enforcement were different, asking the defendant if he expected the jury to believe a man whose been in law enforcement for 25 years had lied, over a man who deleted text messages.
 
But Lovlie stuck by his story, the one he first told to Sanders and the one he told on the stand Thursday. And he said he wrote what he was told in the second statement because he was scared.
 
When he said he was sorry in his interview with Wheaton, Lovlie said that was not for any particular wrongdoing, but for “what he had put her through” after their relationship ended.
 
Rebuttal witness Det. Tom Putnam with the Highland County Sheriff's Office testified that he got the case in August because of the juvenile aspect.
 
He said he interviewed Lovlie after talking to Wheaton, and is the one who informed Lovlie of the charge that was going to be brought against him. Putnam said the defendant's response was, “That's not rape.”
 
Under Collins' questioning, Putnam went on to say that Lovlie said rape was “when you hit somebody over the head, put them in the trunk of your car and take them to the woods” and rape them. He said Lovlie said he didn't do that.
 
Following that, Putnam said he and Lovlie had a discussion “on the propriety of his actions” and the interpretations of those actions.
 
On redirect, Putnam said Lovlie admitted he held the girl down and that she said “no.”
 
In closing, Collins revisited the girl's account of the story and reminded jurors of how the girl fought. She said Lovlie was obsessed with his former girlfriend and wanted her back and would do anything to accomplish that, including rape.
 
“No means no. Stop means stop,” Collins said, adding that Lovlie didn't understand that.
 
She said it all came down to who they believed – the alleged victim whose story has never changed or the defendant who deleted texts, lied to law enforcement and lied to the jurors.
 
She reminded jurors of the bruises on the girl and also of the scratches on Lovlie, scratches she said corroborated what the alleged victim said about fighting him off because the scratches were on Lovlie's sides and the front of his body, not his back, which would indicate an embrace.
 
Collins told jurors that Lovlie had a plan that day. She said Lovlie admitted to forcing the girl to have sex. She said he was possessive and jealous.
 
Forcing the girl to have sex, she said, “is not the way to her heart. It's a crime.”
 
In Hapner's closing statement, she asked jurors why there were no results from the rape kit performed the day after the incident, adding that it was because there was no rape.
 
She said the bruises could have been from the altercation with the girl's father.
 
Hapner reminded jurors of testimony by the girl that Lovlie was at her home for at least two hours. “It boggles my mind,” she said, that the defendant would have been there that long if the girl didn't want him there.
 
Hapner also called into question the ability of people, even detectives, to make mistakes and “misremember.”
 
She said Lovlie's story on Thursday was the same as the one he told Sanders two days after the incident because it was the truth.
 
The defendant works two jobs, she said. “He's a nice kid … He didn't rape her.”
 
Jurors received the case shortly after 2 p.m. and returned the verdict around 3 p.m.
 
Hapner thanked jurors for their attention and for their “patience and diligence,” adding that she was thankful that “justice was done.”
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