|Perrysburg Twp. man faces life in prison if found guilty of rape|
|Written by By BILL RYAN Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Tuesday, 02 June 2009 08:34|
Carl Schwirzinski, a 54-year-old Perrysburg Township man, is standing trial this week for rape and two counts of gross sexual imposition.
A jury of eight men and six women, including two alternates, was seated Monday morning. The trial is scheduled for four days before Wood County Common Pleas Court Judge Alan Mayberry.
Schwirzinski is alleged to have committed the sexual offenses with a 7-year-old girl at his residence in June 2008.
The rape charge is a first-degree felony with a specification that could land him in prison for life if convicted. The two counts of gross sexual imposition are third-degree felonies which also carry possible prison time. The defendant is free on a $500,000 bond which was posted last August.
Both the alleged victim and her mother identified him in their testimony on Monday.
Heather Baker, an assistant county prosecuting attorney, laid out the case for the jury in her opening remarks. She said the girl was given $5 and told by the defendant, "Don't tell anyone, it's our secret."
She also described in sometimes graphic details, the allegations which brought the charges.
Baker also indicated the prosecution would link the defendant to DNA evidence found on the alleged victim and her clothing.
During her emotional testimony Monday afternoon, the young girl said she forgot the money and left it at Schwirzinski's home. However, the victim did describe the incidents to the jury, at one point demonstrating an action of the defendant.
John Thebes, one of two defense attorneys for the defendant, told the jury in his opening remarks, "The state cannot prove their case beyond all reasonable doubt."
He suggested there will be conflicting testimony from witnesses regarding the DNA samples.
The indictment was handed down by a grand jury just over a week after the alleged incidents last year. Thebes suggested the DNA results were not available until after the indictment was issued.
He told jury members they would have to answer two questions in this case: First, did the rape or sexual assault actually occur? Thebes then told the jury, "If you do believe they did occur, then did the state prove Carl is guilty?"
The defense attorney closed his opening remarks with his hand on his client's shoulder, noting, "Your decision is the biggest decision in this man's life."
At that point the prosecution began calling its witnesses.
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