Marcia R Baldwin Juanita N Lewis Mary K Hilterbran Jack D Reed ‘I had no gumption except to get high’ Long-lost siblings meet for the first time after nearly six decades apart Freedom Festival to honor the American Flag ‘Music and Memory’ at Adams County Manor renews lives lost to dementia Adams County Sheriff’s Deputy takes gold at 2017 Ohio Police and Fire Games Toole awarded Winchester Alumni Scholarship Lady Devils host Summer Varsity Shootout In 14U, Peebles finishes regular season with blowout win Der professionelle Basketball-Traum Local pair attend Wabash College Wrestling Camp Shootouts in the summer time Eight dollars and three keys When life gets messy Hot summer days were no sweat Janice McGlothin Jeannine O Evans Gerald Grooms Marvin Setty Richard G Waldron Grand Marshals selected for West Union Fourth of July Parade Adams County, Maysville Vet team up to save injured dog Michael S Knauff Victor P Price Success builds from the bottom up Finalists named for 2017 Fair Queen Contest William Glenn DeWine, Reader Call For Tips in Rhoden Murder Investigation MHS principal to take superintendent post Peebles Skate Park now a reality 2017-18 Fur and Feather Ambassadors named Caley Grooms is Cattlemen’s Beef Ambassador Dr. Mueller leaving Health Department’s free clinic Hourglass Quilt Barn returning to Adams County Lung, Thornburg are First Team All-District selections North Adams hosts annual Boys Basketball Camps Walk-off winner Wanda Hill George D Johnson Life can be a juggling act My favorite thing to do on the farm Wolves in Adams County! Ronald L Wedmore Three lessons from Dad Donald D Morgan Wenstrup uninjured in Virginia shooting Portman staff to hold grant funding workshop Raymond E Applegate Keeping the Peebles tradition alive Back on the hardwood, local hoops squads compete in Monday Night League Seven county athletes recognized as All-SHAC Baseball honorees Stepping to the podium Lady Hounds host Youth Volleyball Camp Senior Profile: Bryan Young Junior Deputy Boot Camps kick off in Manchester Hayes pleads “not guilty” to 109 counts Six-year-old girl finds long-lost class ring Jefferson Alumni awards annual scholarships Paul Tate Jr Marcus I Cox Jewell Gill James M Hill Jr Jeffrey S Jones Samuel A Disher Jack Sterling BREAKING NEWS: Parents face charges after son overdoses on opiate License Hikes and Tall Turkey Tales Danger under every rock Reigning Miss Ohio USA will judge 2017 Adams County Fair Queen Pageant Gordley’s hoops career will continue at Mount St. Joseph Russell C Newman Kenneth C Thurman George Uebel Summer Reading Program underway Honor Flight carries local veteran to DC When rescuers become victims Passing the torch, West Union hosts week-long basketball camp for future Dragons SENIOR PROFILE: Sara Knechtly Terry L Powell Willie Shreffler James C Fitzpatrick Senior Profile: Austin Parks Six countians named to All-SHAC Softball squad Lady Indians get summer camp season underway Memorial Day services pay tribute to local veterans WUHS Steel Band will perform at Bogart’s SSCC announces Honors Lists for spring semester Peebles Elementary releases Honor Roll for final nine weeks West Union Elementary announces Honor Roll for fourth nine weeks Back to State! Mom calls daughter “living proof” seat belts save lives Rent-2-Own donation means new soccer scoreboard at WUHS NAHS student selected for Engineering Summer Camp Southern Hills Athletic Conferences honors Spring Sports athletes Senior Profile: Kailyn Boyd Madison Welch receives Riffle Scholarship Junior Achievement Volunteers visit county’s seventh graders

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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