The trial of a man facing rape and kidnapping charges gets underway at the Mesa County Justice Center. Merle Eaton is charged with three counts of sexual assault, menacing, and third degree assault. According to the District Attorney Pete Haughtzinger,
this is the first time the District Attorney's Office will prosecute someone for sexual assault without the victim. Haughtzinger says the rape victim is from Illinois and had only been living in Grand Junction for about a month before the assault took place and was hitch–hiking back home when Eaton allegedly offered to give her a ride. Trained investigators have been looking for the victim and did locate her once, however she has since disappeared and it looks as though she will not be a part of the trial. The jury has been selected, and opening statements made. The trial is scheduled to last five days.
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