Deliberations continue in rape trial

MIAMI COUNTY — After more than five hours of deliberations regarding rape accusations against Kevin Wright, a former West Milton police officer, a Miami County Common Pleas Court trial jury requested to adjourn without reaching a verdict Thursday evening.

Deliberations will resume at 8:30 a.m. Friday.

Judge Stacy Wall granted the request around 6:30 p.m. to allow the jury to dismiss for the evening. The jury began deliberations around 1 p.m. Thursday.

Wright, 34, entered a plea of not guilty on three counts of first-degree rape of a minor under the age of 13 in February 2020 following an indictment by a grand jury.

For almost an hour, Wright testified on his own behalf Thursday and vehemently denied the allegations that he sexually assaulted a female minor beginning in August 2017. The victim was 11 years old and known to Wright. The alleged incidents occurred from Aug. 1, 2017, to June 1, 2018; from Aug. 1, 2018, to June 1, 2019; and on Dec. 8, 2019. Wright resigned from the West Milton Police Department in June 2020.

In closing arguments, Miami County Prosecutor Anthony Kendell emphasized how the victim was scared to report the incidents because of Wright’s career in law enforcement. Wright was also a police officer in Covington prior to being employed at West Milton.

In closing arguments, Kendell told the jury that the victim was groomed to accept the abuse over a period of time.

“It started out slow and it progressively got worse,” Kendell said. ‘Throughout, this child has been consistent in her testimony when she talks to people.”

Defense attorney Jay Lopez claims the state failed to prove any misconduct took place with the lack of bodily fluid DNA and physical evidence.

“What we have is a girl who told a story and the state of Ohio is trying to help that story out,” Lopez said.

Lopez said Wright was cooperative throughout the investigation, hiding nothing from the Miami County Sheriff’s Office, who conducted the investigation. “Based upon what you’ve heard and what you have seen and in the exhibits you have back there, I submit to you that common sense, logic, reason, the evidence, the law moves you to find a verdict of not guilty for Kevin Wright.”

Kendell responded to Lopez’s closing remarks that Wright was a police officer and used his law enforcement knowledge to commit the offenses, leaving no physical evidence to build a case against him.

“By virtue of the arguments that the defense has made during the course of this trial, they are hoping your common sense gets checked at the door and doesn’t make it back into the deliberations room because they know if it does, they are in big trouble,” Kendell said.

Kendell said the victim had no motivation whatsoever to falsely accuse Wright, noting the intimidating nature of the courtroom and testifying in front of a jury.

“(Victims) are being asked to testify about things that they’ll spend the rest of their lives trying to forget,” Kendell said.