One thing to remember this President’s Day Adams County Deer Harvest down over 21% MLSD amends five-year budget, prepares for future with power plant closings Lady Dragons triumph in sectional opener Lady Hounds eighth graders capture SHAC Tournament title Gary L Fetters Sr Boys Sectional brackets released ‘We’re only as good as the way we treat others’ Another round of smiles Adams County Board of DD members recognized Terry L Unger 8th Grade Lady Devils ousted in tourney semis WU’s McCarty signs with Ohio Christian Joyce A Huddleson Carolyn Spires BREAKING NEWS: Peebles police search for man accused of selling marijuana-laced sweets Decision Time BBN Senior Profile: Summer Grundy Lady Devils fall to Southeastern, 56-48 Devils outlast Manchester 47-44 in double overtime Peebles holds second Hall of Fame Ceremony Senior Profile: Patrick England Sowards hits 1,000, ties PHS three-point mark County agencies prepare for sweeping budget cuts Manchester Council votes to cut police chief’s hours Wrestling debuts in Adams County Peebles Library hosts book signing As plants power down, community must step up Raymond P Dryden Alva Palmer Billie L Shoemaker Judith Long Brent A Arn Girls basketball sectional pairings announced WU’s Weeks will continue gridiron career at next level West Union JH Boys drop pair at Ripley Eighth Grade Lady Hounds roll into SHAC semi-finals Janet A Kennedy DP&L moving ahead with plans to close power plants Outreach Center in Peebles is a hub of giving River Sweep contest winners announced Gordley hits 1,000 mark, but Indians drop crucial SHAC contest to Lynchburg Manchester lifters compete at Piketon Senior Profile: Madelyn Sanders Charles L Hurd Randy Casto Bobby Strunk Dorothy J Scott Chester A Lanter Coach David Smalley picks up 500th career win at Rio Grande Dustin Holbrook Senior Profile: Camron Gordley As usual, optimism abounds on 2017 Reds Caravan Breeze, Beasley newest members of NAHS Athletic HOF Two humble men Adams County Manor Home Health Care makes road to recovery easier Don and Venita Bowles named as Outstanding Fair Supporters ‘Tip off For Tammy’ is a huge success, joint effort by two schools Husted campaign makes stop in Peebles Benefit held for double-lung transplant recipient I loved that muddy water, building in the creek Margaret E Broughton Larry A Hanson DP&L press release confirms closing of power plants Eighth grade girls showdown lives up to hype, North Adams wins in overtime, 45-43 Senior Profile: Raeanna Stamm North Adams Football sign-ups coming soon North Adams JV girls go 11-4 with win over Peebles Harper wins MaxPreps/JJHuddle Athlete of the Week West Union duo headed to the college gridiron Lady Devils make it 11 straight with win at Peebles Adams County residents attend Trump Inauguration A Look back at our Archives Peebles native comes home to film documentary Ohio Valley Wrestling Cub hosting home match on Jan. 31 Ruth A Branscome Velma Hughes Carol L Lewis Betty L Greiner Devils top New Boston 63-53 in finale of Coach Young Classic Lady Devils rout Eastern Pike in Young Classic Indians bounce back with 67-59 win over East OHSAA Baseball Pitch Count Regulation approved for 2017 At the buzzer, Rothwell gives Dragons an overtime win Greyhounds fall to Portsmouth Lady Indians roll past West Union 80-29 From Division II to the Senior Bowl COSI On Wheels visits West Union Elementary News from the Peebles PTO NAJH Basketball hosting ‘Play For The Cure’ Jan. 28 North Adams Elementary recognizes Students and Staff Members of the Month for December Honoring a coaching legend Benefit will assist double-lung transplant patient Peebles to be featured in new documentary Cleaning the stables-the worst job on the farm Wenstrup reselected to serve on House Intelligence Committee Venture Hawks and Sheriff’s Department square off on Feb. 12 Cecil R Dupree Harper wins MaxPreps/JJHuddle Athlete of the Week Star Wars costume exhibition coming to Museum Center

Blanton rape, kidnapping trial continues at courthouse

Defendant Denny Blanton,Jr., foreground, listens to testimony during his trial on rape and kidnapping charges this week at the Adams County Courthouse.  Also pictured, from left, are defense attorneys Mike Kelly and Tyler Cantrell, Adams County Prosecutor David Kelley, and Adams County Assistant Prosecutor Kris Blanton.
Defendant Denny Blanton,Jr., foreground, listens to testimony during his trial on rape and kidnapping charges this week at the Adams County Courthouse. Also pictured, from left, are defense attorneys Mike Kelly and Tyler Cantrell, Adams County Prosecutor David Kelley, and Adams County Assistant Prosecutor Kris Blanton.

Forensics and medical experts punch holes in the “he said/she said” defense –

Story and photo by Patricia Beech –

A nine woman, three man jury with four alternates was seated on Monday, Aug. 21 in the rape and kidnapping trial of an Adams County teen with Judge Brett Spencer presiding.
Denny W. Blanton,Jr. 18, of Manchester is accused of allegedly kidnapping and raping a minor girl from the Peebles area on Feb. 22, 2016.  He  was indicted on March 3 by the Adams County Grand Jury on two counts of kidnapping and two counts of rape.
Early Tuesday, after touring five locations associated with the case, the jury heard opening statements. Blanton Jr. was stoic as Assistant Prosecutor Kris Blanton detailed the charges against him: “he shoved  her to the ground, he hit her, he threatened her, he restrained her  before putting her in his truck and driving to a nearby cemetery where  he forced her to submit”. Pointing at the defendant, he said “I expect that after you hear all the testimony and listen to all the witnesses, you will come to the conclusion that Denny W. Blanton Jr. is guilty.”
Defense attorney Tyler Cantrell countered, reminding the jurors the  burden of proof rests with the state. “There are only two people who know what happened out there,” Cantrell said. “In the end, you will  determine that Denny Blanton Jr. is not guilty.”
Forensic specialists on Thursday testified that DNA belonging to Blanton was found on the minor girls’ body and under clothing.
According to the testimony of forensic scientist Erika Jimenez, there  was a only a 1 in one trillion chance that the DNA was not Blanton’s.  “He cannot be excluded,” she said. “He is definitely included.”
On Wednesday the court listened to a Feb. 23 audio recording of Blanton telling Sheriff Kimmy Rogers that he had no sexual contact with the girl, saying he’d only given her a ride.
However, medical experts from Children’s Hospital testified that the  girl’s injuries were consistent with sexual assault.
Again Thursday, the jury watched as Blanton, in a Feb. 23 video  recording with Investigator Kenny Dick, continued to deny the allegations brought against him.
“I just gave the girl a ride, I  shouldn’t have done that,” he told Dick. When asked if he’d had sex with her he replied, “No, I didn’t have sex with her.”
Blanton Jr.’s attorneys, Tyler Cantrell  and Mike Kelly, argue that the sexual encounter between their client and the minor girl was consensual.
The father of the victim sat alone in the courtroom Tuesday as his  daughter, the state’s first witness, related her Feb. 22 encounter with Blanton Jr. on Tater Ridge Road.
She told the court how he stopped her during her daily run. Describing  him as “nervous” she said he asked for directions, then got out of his white double cab pickup truck on the pretext of getting a map from the back seat. She said he began asking her “weird questions”. “He asked  me how old I was and I told him I was 12 because I was beginning to  get scared.” the victim testified.
She said the “way he was acting” reminded her of her brother, who  suffers from a mental illness and often exhibits similar behavior.  “You have to be nice and calm with him” she told Prosecutor David  Kelley.
She said she became even more frightened when she realized the paper he was holding wasn’t a map and recounted how he approached her. “He  shoved me to the ground, he hit me on the cheek with his fist, he  said he’d kill me if I yelled, I was scared.”
She described in detail how he restrained her by wrapping his belt around her arms and body, forced her onto the back floor board of the  truck, and drove her to another location where he raped her.
She said afterward he her drove back to Wheat Ridge Road. Dropping her off at a house near Miller’s Bakery, she said he made her swear she wouldn’t tell.
“He told me to swear on my mom and dad’s lives so I  did. Then he told me I could get out.” When the truck was out of  sight, she ran to Miller’s where she called her mother and reported what had happened.
During cross examination defense attorney Mike Kelly asked the girl if she believed her parents would be upset if she’d had consensual sex.  Prosecutor Kelley’s objection was sustained and Judge Spencer told the jury to disregard the question.
Kelly also questioned her about apparent discrepancies between her testimony in court and what she told the 911 operator. Asking why she failed to say that she’d been restrained or hit in the face, she replied that she “thought she had  given the operator those details”. She also said she was aware that her DNA was not found on the defendant’s belt.
In testimony Thursday DNA expert Jimenez told the court it was not unusual for “Touch DNA” not to transfer on to objects.
The trial is expected to conclude by Friday, Aug. 26.
In a separate case involving sex-related crimes, the Adams County  Grand Jury in May 2016 indicted Blanton Jr. on charges of Pandering  Sexually Oriented Matter Involving a Minor and Illegal Use of a Minor in Nudity-Oriented Material or Performance. In yet another case, he was  indicted in May 2016 for kidnapping, assault, and felonious assault. That trial is scheduled for Oct. 2016.
Look for the final results of this trial in the Wednesday, Aug. 31 issue of The People’s Defender.

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