WARSAW — After a two-day jury trial one and a half hours of deliberation, Todd Cornett II, Warsaw, has been found not guilty of rape.
The jury trial picked up this afternoon, April 24, with the continuation of the defense’s argument.
Melissa Cornett, Cornett’s mother, was the fourth and final witness called to testify by Defense Attorney David Kolbe. Melissa Cornett told the jury that when she saw the victim the morning after the alleged crime, she was “happy, excited, giggly.”
During the cross-examination, Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Brad Voelz asked if Melissa Cornett was aware of the drinking and that someone at her house was intoxicated. Melissa Cornett told the jury that she was not aware of the drinking until an officer, Warsaw Police Department Detective Lieutenant Paul Heaton, came to her house and told her.
Voelz then played the original recording Heaton made during his first visit to the Cornett household. During the recording, Melissa Cornett told Heaton that A.A. told her “she was so drunk she didn’t remember any of it.” Voelz pointed out that the recording revealed that the victim had talked to Melissa Cornett about the previous evening’s activities, despite Melissa Cornett’s testimony, just minutes prior.
At this point, the defense rested their case and final arguments were given.
Voelz began his final argument by asking the jurors a question. “If Todd Cornett did not rape (A.A.), why lie? Why lie about it? If Todd Cornett didn’t rape (A.A.), why did his friends and family lie? Your answer — because he thought he could get away with it.”
Voelz replayed portions of the video footage of Cornett’s interview with Warsaw Police Department Detective Lieutenant Paul Heaton and pointed out that Cornett was the first person to use the word rape during the interview. “Todd Cornett raped (A.A.) because he thought he could get away with it,” concluded Voelz.
Kolbe began his final argument by asking the jurors if they had any remaining unanswered questions. “You have a profound number of questions, and you should. Those questions should tell you something — you have reasonable doubt — beyond reasonable doubt.”
He pointed out that the involved parties were of 17 and 18 years old during the alleged incident and stated that the “hormones are flowing” at that age. When addressing the question of why A.A. would lie, Kolbe said, “I quite frankly believe that she’s persuaded herself of this.”
The jury then went into deliberation, which lasted an hour and a half and came back with a verdict of not guilty.
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