Crime

Judge refuses to delay trial for 4 accused of sodomizing boy at party, sharing video

With nine business days left before a trial is scheduled to start for four defendants accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy, Christian Circuit Judge John Atkins ruled Monday that newly disclosed evidence from smartphones won’t be used at trial.

However, he left open the possibility of defense attorneys asking him to review the matter again if they find information helpful to their clients.

The defendants — Tyler Perry, Sam Miller, Dayton Jones and Colton Cavanaugh — are accused of sodomizing a Hopkinsville boy during a party in October 2014. The four charged were between the ages of 17 and 20 when the boy, who was unconscious, was allegedly assaulted with a sex toy in a party at Miller’s residence on LaFayette Road. The boy was left with life-threatening injuries.

The assault was recorded on smartphones and later shared through a social media app that allowed others to view the video for a short time, according to police.

In court Monday, special prosecutor Jon Heck said he had recently discovery that an additional 50 gigabytes of texts, photos and videos collected from smartphones had been available for months but had not been turned over to defense attorneys.

Ted Shouse, who represents Miller, said he didn’t want the new evidence admitted. He questioned the process used to compile the photos, video and text.

Attorneys Bill Deatherage and Ben Fletcher, representing Jones and Cavanaugh, respectively, asked for a continuance so the defense could analyze the new evidence.

Atkins ruled the trial will continue as scheduled on Aug. 22. In addition, he denied a motion by Perry’s attorney, Brandi Jones, to severe his prosecution from the other three defendants.

Heck said there is no new evidence in the 50 gigabytes collected from smartphones -- and it isn’t just information pertaining to the case. It’s also pictures of minors outside of the party, such as pictures of themselves for a significant other or vacation pictures, he said.

In other matters, the judge and attorneys discussed several logistical issues. These included how to show some evidence deemed as child pornography to jurors while shielding the view from the court’s audience. They also discussed seating arrangements for the defendants and their attorneys.

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