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February 4, 2014

State-trooper rape case goes to jury

PLATTSBURGH — No verdict was returned in Trevor J. Donah's rape trial on Monday.

The jury in Clinton County Court began its deliberations shortly after 2 p.m.; court adjourned at 4:30.

Donah, 33, is a State Police trooper.

On Monday morning in closing statements, the defense painted the woman who says he raped and otherwise abused her as a vindictive ex-girlfriend who changed her story when interviewed by police.

The prosecution directed the jury's attention to the woman's testimony, during which she said she lied to protect Donah since she still cared for him.

'WORDS ALONE'

"This is a case about words and words alone," defense attorney Brian Barrett told the jury, adding that the people who testified were strangers to the jury.

He went through the alleged instances of abuse, emphasizing the woman's level of intoxication when Donah allegedly slammed her head into the console of his pickup truck after a party.

As far as the physical assaults the woman said she was subjected to by Donah, Barrett said that those kinds of interactions were common between the couple, as the woman had testified that Donah had taught her jujitsu and defensive tactics and trained her at the gym.

'IF REASONABLE DOUBT'

Barrett later called Donah a "health nut" and referenced the man's spiritual beliefs, saying, "We do not convict people on strange beliefs or speculation."

Although the witnesses who testified had cellphones capable of taking pictures, no photos were taken of the bruises the victim said she suffered after Donah choked her, he emphasized.

State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation Senior Investigator John Donohue had testified that there weren't any surveillance cameras at Texas Roadhouse in Plattsburgh. That is where the alleged victim, who worked there at the time, said she had gone after Donah assaulted her in his apartment.

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