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Hung jury in rape case

LISBON – A Columbiana County Common Pleas Court jury was unable to reach a verdict after three days of testimony in the trial of Austin Powell, leading to a hung jury and a mistrial.

Powell, 29, East Liverpool Road, East Liverpool, is charged with rape and two counts of gross sexual imposition for allegedly sexually abusing to young girls when they were between the ages of 6 and 9, between 2009 and continuing through 2013. The girls reportedly did not disclose what had happened to them until July 2018.

The jury for the trial before Judge Megan Bickerton was selected on Tuesday and listened to testimony until Thursday afternoon, when they were asked to decide. Unable to make a unanimous decision by 5 p.m., Thursday, the jury returned and spent Friday morning deliberating again. By early Friday afternoon they determined they were at an impasse.

Defense attorney James Wise and both assistant county prosecutors, Tammie Riley-Jones and Alec Beech, met with Bickerton after the jury had left and a status conference was scheduled Feb. 26. The prosecutor’s office will determine if it will continue to pursue the case against Powell or request a dismissal of the charges.

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