A jury acquitted a Westminster man of second-degree rape after less than an hour of deliberation and almost three days of testimony and arguments.
John E. Madison, 53, was also acquitted of second-degree sex offense, second-degree assault and false imprisonment.
Madison's attorney, Laura Morton, said after the verdict was given that the trial and the charges had "tremendously affected his life."
"I'm just very happy that justice was done for my client," Morton said.
A Westminster woman alleged that Madison had raped her after physically assaulting her and forcing her to perform oral sex. But Morton urged the jury during closing arguments to question if the woman was a credible witness. The Times does not identify victims or alleged victims of sexual assault.
"She can't even keep her story straight to the point that it follows the state's case," Morton told the jury.
Morton used her closing arguments to doubt the woman's credibility, and she told the jury that the only reason to believe the events happened is if they believed the woman told the truth.
The physical evidence and testimony from the state's witnesses could work with any incident, including if the woman had consensual sex, Morton said.
The evidence could not directly show that Madison was even at the woman's apartment when she testified she had been raped. The fact that the evidence did not prove he was there was the only certainty in the case, Morton said.
"But we're supposed to believe her that he was and this is what happened," Morton said.
Morton told jurors that she didn't know why the woman falsely accused Madison of rape but suggested it might be because Madison had slept with a homeless woman in the woman's apartment. It could also have been that the woman experienced a flashback to prior domestic assault, Morton said.
"Unfortunately, we'll never know, which, of course, means we have reasonable doubt," Morton told jurors.
Earlier in the day, jurors heard testimony from forensic nurse Tracy Yingling, who examined the woman after the alleged assault; from Westminster Police Department's Sgt. Richard Lambert; and from John Lyle Stalter, a public defender who represented Madison in district court.
Yingling told the jurors about the trauma she witnessed to the woman's genitals. The woman had swelling to her outer layers that was abnormal, Yingling said, adding that on the woman's cervix, she found petechiae, or small spots where blood vessels burst. Yingling said the cause of the swelling and petechiae was blunt force trauma.
Yingling also noted that the woman had bruising on her jaw and legs, as well as scratches on her chest.
The woman previously testified the bruise on her jaw was from Madison attempting to break it and the bruises on her legs came from him holding her while he forced himself on her.
During her closing arguments, Senior Assistant State's Attorney Brenda Harkavy, who prosecuted the case with Senior Assistant State's Attorney Amy Blank Ocampo, said the trauma to the woman's genital regions were evidence of second-degree assault and the rape.
"He injured her. There was force. He caused petechiae to her cervix and trauma to her vagina," Harkavy said.
The bruises on her legs and jaw were signs of force that would fall under second-degree assault, she said. Morton, in her closing, said the bruises looked old and that they could have been from something else.
Harkavy acknowledged that the woman wasn't the perfect woman, saying the woman had "baggage" but that it didn't mean she deserved to be raped or assaulted.
"You don't have be friends with her. You don't even have to like her. But that doesn't change what [Madison] did to her," Harkavy told the jury.
Harkavy asked the jury to find Madison guilty on all counts, adding that it would empower the woman instead of making her stay a victim.
"The man [the woman] loved, John Madison, put her through hours of hell," Harkavy said.
After the verdict, Ocampo said in an email that the Carroll County State's Attorney's Office would respect the jury's decision, but Harkavy and she were disappointed.
Madison is scheduled to reappear in court on May 23 for a jury trial on a count of second-degree assault allegedly against the same woman.