SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, May 9, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — Three men charged in an alleged attack on a 9-year-old girl in Vernal have been acquitted.
Randall Flatlip, Jerry Flatlip and Larson RonDeau had been charged with first-degree felony child rape and sodomy on a child in an attack, said to have occurred on Easter of 2016 while the girl’s mother smoked meth in another part of the residence.
In testimony last week, the girl, now 11, told the court she waited two days to talk to her mother about the rape because her life had been threatened by the men if she spoke out.
Prosecutors urged the judge and jury to consider the girl’s testimony despite the lack of DNA evidence, which they suggested could have been caused by the delay in her examination.
When the five man, three woman jury delivered its unanimous verdict late Wednesday morning, audible sighs or relief were heard in the court room, and at least one defendant wept, according to reports.
Defense attorney Loni F. DeLand said it was right to acquit the men.
“There was not a shred of evidence,” he said. “Not a shred. It just wasn’t there.”
The defense team had suggested that the girl was influenced by her mother in making the original accusation.