The trial of a homeless man accused of kidnapping and raping a hitch–hiker in Mesa County continued Wednesday. The Prosecution called several local law enforcement officers in to testify, and ended up resting their case just shortly after 2:30 p.m. The defense also rested their case after the defendant, Merle Eaton, announced on record that he would not be testifying. Merle Eaton is charged with three counts of sexual assault.. Second degree kidnapping, menacing and assault in the third degree. However this afternoon the DA's Office dropped the menacing charge after the defense argued for an acquittal on it, saying there was no proof Eaton ever had a deadly weapon particularly a gun.
Merle Eaton is accused of offering the alleged victim a ride, hitting her in the face and raping her on a dirt road before she says she escaped and ran into a business off the of I-70 Business Loop. The Prosecution was never able to serve the alleged victim with a subpoena because she has since disappeared. This is the first time the District Attorney's Office has prosecuted someone for sexual assault without a victim.
Tomorrow morning the Prosecution and Defense will deliver their closing arguments.
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