A jury on Wednesday convicted a Perrysburg Township man of raping a 7-year-old girl.
The jury deliberated for five hours before issuing three guilty verdicts against Carl Schwirzinski,
including included two counts of gross sexual imposition in addition to the rape charge.
The gallery was nearly filled to capacity when the jury returned to the courtroom of Wood County Common
Pleas Court Judge Alan Mayberry. Both sides of the gallery were weeping openly after the verdict was
Because of the age of the victim, the verdict carries a mandatory life sentence without the possibility
Mayberry this morning announced the sentence, which included five years on each the sexual imposition
charges, to be served consecutively to the rape charge.
?The court fails to find any genuine remorse for your actions,? Mayberry told Schwirzinski this morning
before sentencing him to the maximum allowable.
The listing of the jail terms to be consecutive to the life sentence was done should the rape conviction
be overturned on appeal. Defense attorney John Thebes told the court he advised his client not to speak
at sentencing because an appeal is planned.
Schwirzinski also will be classified as a Tier 3 sex offender in regards to the rape charge, and Tier 2
for the other charges.
The offenses were committed at his residence. Thebes also said Schwirzinski maintains his innocence.
After the jury was dismissed on Wednesday, Schwirzinski, 54, turned and addressed his family and friends
when they asked if he could come home with them.
?You guys just go home, I?ll be all right,? he told them.
The defendant had been free on a $500,000 bond but that was revoked by Mayberry, who ordered Schwirzinski
placed into custody and taken to the Wood County jail.
?I?m just relieved that it?s over,? the victim?s mother said after the verdict was announced. She was
still visibly shaken more than 15 minutes after hearing the verdict.
Testimony concluded Wednesday morning on the third day of the trial.
In his summation, Thebes unsuccessfully argued that the prosecution had failed to prove its case. He
referenced conflicting statements and ?murky evidence.? He also claimed the investigation was quick to
exclude other possible perpetrators, calling it a ?rush to judgment.?
He referred to the DNA expert the defense secured, Dr. Greg Hampikian of Idaho. Thebes claimed the expert
based his conclusions on ?scientific truth.? The attorney told the jurors, ?The science just doesn?t cut
In contrast, Heather Baker, an assistant Wood County prosecutor who took the lead in this case, cited
testimony by Julie Cox from the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation. Baker said Cox?s
conclusion that the DNA evidence in the case could be verified as specific bodily fluid from
Schwirzinski was based on her practical experience in dealing with similar matters on a daily basis.
Baker argued to the jury that the victim, now age 8, used consistent terms with her parents when she
first disclosed the allegations, as well as with nurses, investigators and from the witness stand on
?The evidence shows the defendant?s DNA is 10 times greater than the others in the sample and that can be
attributed to bodily fluids,? Baker argued in her summation.
Following the verdict, one juror was overheard to say ?it was rough.?
Dale Emch, another defense attorney commented after the verdict, ?The prosecution tried a good case. We
disagree with the result, but we respect the attentiveness and extremely hard decision of the jurors.?
Thebes echoed those sentiments regarding the jury at sentencing.
Baker said the case came down to the credibility of the witnesses.
She voiced strong support of the testimony of both the victim and Cox.
?Our expert witness was more familiar with the procedures and results of the testing,? Baker said.
At sentencing Baker read a statement from the victim?s mother which included the statement, ?This has
been a mother and father?s worst nightmare.?
Photo captions: Story: Carl Schwirzinski in court Wednesday