Friday, August 22, 2014

Sentencing in DNA cold case delayed

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 12/17/2012

The sentencing of a 53-year-old former truck driver most recently from Arizona who was found guilty in October for a second time of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in Ottawa has been postponed until 10 a.m. Feb. 5, 2013.

Franklin County District Judge Eric W. Godderz postponed the sentencing for Ralph E. Corey, which originally was scheduled for Monday afternoon, to give prosecutors more time to obtain certified copies of two prior convictions on assault and sexual assault-related charges that Corey was alleged to have committed in 1983 and 1991 in Rhode Island. John A. Boyd, Corey’s defense attorney, had requested certified copies of those convictions, which the state of Rhode Island had not provided to the Franklin County District Court as of Monday.

The sentencing of a 53-year-old former truck driver most recently from Arizona who was found guilty in October for a second time of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in Ottawa has been postponed until 10 a.m. Feb. 5, 2013.

Franklin County District Judge Eric W. Godderz postponed the sentencing for Ralph E. Corey, which originally was scheduled for Monday afternoon, to give prosecutors more time to obtain certified copies of two prior convictions on assault and sexual assault-related charges that Corey was alleged to have committed in 1983 and 1991 in Rhode Island. John A. Boyd, Corey’s defense attorney, had requested certified copies of those convictions, which the state of Rhode Island had not provided to the Franklin County District Court as of Monday.

“We are at the mercy of the state of Rhode Island right now, judge,” Stephen A. Hunting, Franklin County attorney, said.

Boyd also indicated he was prepared to argue how those two prior Rhode Island convictions should be scored in Kansas — with regard to Corey’s criminal history — for sentencing purposes. A person’s criminal history can affect the severity of a sentence.

Judge Godderz also turned down a motion made by Boyd for a new trial, citing a lack of new evidence or new arguments that would warrant a new trial.

On Oct. 22, a jury convicted Corey of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old Walmart Supercenter cashier on the night of Feb. 19, 2000, as she prepared to leave the employee parking lot on the north side of the building at 2101 S. Princeton St., Ottawa. Corey was convicted of two counts of aggravated sexual assault, one count of aggravated kidnapping, one count of attempted rape and one count of making a criminal threat in connection with the incident.

The sexual assault case had gone cold until DNA collected at the crime scene was matched with Corey’s DNA in the national Combined DNA Index System [CODIS] of solved and unsolved cases Nov. 8, 2010, as Corey was about to be released from an Arizona penitentiary on counterfeiting charges. Corey was arrested June 17, 2011, by Ottawa police officers on a Franklin County warrant and transferred to the Franklin County Adult Detention Center, 305 S. Main St., Ottawa, where he has remained the past 18 months.

A jury in June convicted Corey on all five counts as well, but Judge Godderz declared a mistrial in July when he learned one of the jurors had used a smartphone to look up information about the case during deliberations.

Doug Carder is senior writer for The Herald. Email him at dcarder@ottawaherald.com

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