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Jury deliberations to continue today in Lewis County rape case

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LOWVILLE — A Lewis County jury this morning will continue deliberations in the rape case of a Watertown man.

The 10-man, two-woman jury, after deliberating throughout Monday afternoon in the case of Patrick J. Elliott, 37, of 518 W. Main St., Apt. A, Watertown, was sent home by Lewis County Judge Daniel R. King after failing to reach a verdict, according to Assistant District Attorney Caleb J. Petzoldt.

Jurors are to reconvene at 9 a.m.

Elliott is charged with first- and second-degree rape and endangering the welfare of a child.

He was accused of having forcible sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl on Dec. 9 outside of a residence in the town of West Turin.

During closing arguments Monday morning in the trial’s fifth day, defense attorney Gary W. Miles argued that the prosecution’s case was lacking scientific and physical evidence that a sexual assault had occurred.

“The right thing is to acquit Patrick Elliott of all three charges in the indictment, because the proof simply isn’t there,” Mr. Miles said.

He also questioned the police’s decision not to take photographs of the scene or interview neighbors and suggested that, based on estimated timeframes given during testimony, Mr. Elliott may not have been alone with the alleged victim for as long as the incident was said to have taken place.

“It just doesn’t make sense that a forcible rape would take place under those circumstances,” Mr. Miles said.

He also suggested there was other conflicting evidence and some testimony from the alleged victim that didn’t make sense, reminding jurors that any reasonable doubt should lead to a not-guilty verdict.

“Don’t apply your rational minds to an irrational, violent act,” countered Mr. Petzoldt, who is handling prosecution of the case.

Rape is primarily about power and control and can be done quickly in a moment of impulse, he said.

“He saw a window, and he took it,” the assistant district attorney said of Mr. Elliott.

Mr. Petzoldt started his presentation by pausing for exactly one minute, then later used that as an object lesson to suggest to jurors that any conflicting time estimates given may be chalked up to differences in perception.

“It felt like an eternity watching the clock for 60 ticks,” he said.

The prosecutor also played several times a short recorded telephone conversation from a couple days after the alleged rape in which the girl expressed concern about becoming pregnant and Mr. Elliott offhandedly indicating he wasn’t concerned. He opined that the defendant showed little surprise over the suggestion of sexual contact in his response.

Mr. Petzoldt also noted that a hospital examination of the alleged victim conducted later in the day Dec. 9 did turn up some evidence of male DNA, although technicians could not confirm or deny that it was from Mr. Elliott, and suggested the girl had no motive to make up the story if it wasn’t true.

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