Forensic specialists testify in child rape case

By Ivy Potter - [email protected]

Testimony continued on Wednesday in a trial for the case of The State of Ohio vs. Brian Powers and Sheri Trout.

The stepmother of the six year old victim, who was five at the time of the alleged sexual abuse by Powers, testified first and told the jury about the initial discovery of the abuse that had taken place, and the night which the child was examined by doctors at both urgent care and Adena Medical Center.

A victim’s advocate from CPC testified to her initial encounter with the five year old victim, and the jury was shown a video recording of that encounter in which the victim was asked a series of questions pertaining to any abuse. In the video the victim stated that the only person that had ever touched her inappropriately was “Papaw Brian”, aka Brian Powers.

Prosecution then called witnesses from various investigative organizations for the purpose of establishing a chain of custody for evidence collected pertaining to the case.

Detective Michael Hamilton of the Portsmouth Police Department testified that he retrieved the collected evidence, which consisted of a sexual assault or rape kit, from Adena Medical Center and placed it in a locker at the Police Department.

Detective Steve Brewer, who maintains the role of property officer at Portsmouth Police Department, logged all incoming evidence, and Valerie Penson of PPD placed all evidence in a secure designated location.

Officer Lee Bower, also of PPD, testified that he transferred all collected evidence to the BCI Bureau of Criminal Investigation for analysis. A Forensic Scientist from the BCI then testified to his findings in analysis of the evidence, and stated that while there was not enough DNA evidence present in the samples collected in the rape kit to create a profile, a small amount of male DNA was recovered from the victim’s kit.

The defense asked if the DNA having not being stored in a refrigerated space could corrupt it in any way, and the Forensic Scientist, an expert witness, stated that refrigeration was not necessary unless the evidence pertained to a liquid, but stated that break down of DNA over an extended period of time was possible. Defense also suggested that the DNA, being only generally male, could have come from something as simple as a hair follicle.

A Computer Forensic Specialist from the BCI, deemed an expert witness, then testified to findings on a seized piece of property belonging to Powers, in the form of a PlayStation 3 gaming system.

On the device, the specialist found a file containing pornographic images of teens and young women in addition to a search history which hinted at drug use with searches like “Methamphetamine” and suggestive web addresses including terms “young porn” and “xxx infant”. Defense claims that although the searches and content was found under the account profile of Powers, that anyone could have accessed those images or websites, and that those sites could have been the result of pop-up ads.

The trial will continue tomorrow at 9:00 at the Scioto County Courthouse.

By Ivy Potter

[email protected]

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