The fate of a homeless man accused of rape and kidnapping is now in the hands of a jury. The trial of Merle Eaton who's accused of raping and kidnapping a hitch–hiker in Mesa County lasted three days. During closing arguments today District Attorney Pete Haughtzinger also summed up the trial for jurors, reiterating evidence and testimony he believed had proved his case beyond a reasonable doubt. He told the jury that while the victim didn't participate in the trial she was still a victim, and evidence clearly showed that she had been picked up by Merle Eaton in his red van, driven to a dirt road, punched in the face and raped. The defense however painted a different picture of the alleged victim saying she could have been a prostitute who had been ripped off and was just mad. Merle Eaton is charged with three counts of sexual assault, second degree kidnapping, and third degree assault.
This is the first time the Mesa County District Attorney's Office has prosecuted someone for sexual assault without a victim.
Viewers with disabilities can get assistance accessing this station's FCC Public Inspection File by contacting the station with the information listed below. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, 888-835-5322 (TTY), or firstname.lastname@example.org.