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Monday
Mar182013

Grand Jury Could Mean Additional Charges in Ohio Rape Case

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(STEUBENVILLE, Ohio) -- Ohio attorney general Mike DeWine announced on Sunday that the state will be convening a grand jury to investigate whether there could be additional indictments or charges in the Steubenville rape case.

"A grand jury is an investigative tool that is uniquely suited to ensure fairness and to complete this investigation," DeWine said at a news conference after Sunday's verdict.  "And this community needs assurance that no stone has been left unturned in our search for the truth."

Trent Mays, 17, and Ma'lik Richmond, 16, were both found delinquent -- the juvenile court equivalent of guilty -- on Sunday of the sexual assault of an intoxicated 16-year-old girl.

Both were sentenced to at least one year in juvenile jail and could be held until they are 21 years old.  Mays was sentenced to an additional year for a charge related to distributing nude images of a minor.

Attorneys for both of the defendants said they plan to appeal.

"A prosecutor's most important duty is to seek justice.  I believe with these verdicts that justice has been done," DeWine said.  "However, this is not a happy time for anyone.  Every rape is a tragedy.  This is a tragedy."

DeWine said investigators identified 43 people who attended at least one of the two parties where the assaults took place.  Authorities interviewed 27 of those people, but the 16 others refused to cooperate for various reasons.

Additionally, the owners of one of the homes where one of the parties took place was interviewed as well as dozens of school officials.

The contents of 13 cellphones were analyzed, which amounted to 396,270 text messages, 308,586 photos, 940 videos, 3,188 phone calls and 16,422 contacts.

DeWine asked the Jefferson County Common Pleas Court to convene a grand jury to meet on or around April 15.  Evidence will be presented and DeWine said he expected that numerous witnesses will be called to testify.

The grand jury does not necessarily mean that there will be additional charges or indictments, but it is possible.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio