Man is found guilty of raping 15-year-old girl Sentencing scheduled for end of May

March 28, 1997|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

A Westminster man was convicted in Carroll County Circuit Court yesterday of raping a 15-year-old girl last summer.

A jury of 11 women and one man deliberated about six hours before issuing a guilty verdict against Ronald E. Muller, 20, who lived in Mount Airy at the time of the incident.

The girl, who is not being named to protect her privacy, said Muller had raped, bit and sodomized her Aug. 31 in a remote field off Gillis Falls Road in southwest Carroll.

Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. revoked Muller's bond and ordered him held at the Carroll County Detention Center in Westminster. He will be sentenced May 27.

"We believe this defendant is a very dangerous person and he needs to be held accountable for what he did," prosecutor Jerry Joyce said of the verdict. "We're very glad the jury took the time to deliberate and apparently consider all the evidence."

The jury heard three days of testimony and had to decide whether to believe the girl, who admitted sneaking out of her home about 2 a.m. and going for a ride with Muller, or a parade of defense witnesses from Woodbine who attacked her credibility. Those witnesses implied the girl regularly drank beer and smoked marijuana, and they said they had seen her with her clothes off on several occasions.

The witnesses, mostly between 16 and 20 years old, also implied the girl regularly sneaked out of her home late at night to meet boys who drove by and tooted a car horn twice.

Joyce held a law book in his hand as he asked the jury to understand that their job was to understand that a woman may have consensual sex 100 times, but if she says no on the 101st time and is brutally attacked, a crime of rape has occurred.

Michael O. Ramsey, a Baltimore attorney representing Muller, said the case was about believability. He asked jurors to consider how a key witness for the state "lied to investigators at least five times."

That witness, a 17-year-old boy, described himself as a friend of Muller and the girl. He initially denied Muller borrowed his car the night of the incident. Later, he said Muller borrowed the car after calling the girl to say they both would drive by her home.

Muller went alone, however, the boy said.

The girl testified that she was surprised Muller was alone but she went with him because he told her he would drive her to the teen-ager's home. Instead, she said Muller went to an area known as Eyler's field and assaulted her.

Ramsey also noted that Muller repeatedly denied the sexual assault in a 21-page statement to investigators.

For the most part the jury was not able to rely on physical evidence to make its decision because the girl initially hid her clothing and was not examined by a doctor until five days after the assault. In addition, a forensic examination produced no evidence that any sexual activity had taken place in the car.

Pub Date: 3/27/97

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