Press-Republican

Local News

February 5, 2014

Donah found not guilty of rape

PLATTSBURGH — Trevor J. Donah was found not guilty on rape and sex-abuse charges by a jury in Clinton County Court Wednesday afternoon.

The panel did find the state trooper, 33, guilty on one of two counts of third-degree assault and on two counts of criminal obstruction of breathing/blood circulation, both misdemeanor charges. 

He was also found culpable for the misdemeanor charge of second-degree unlawful imprisonment of the former girlfriend involved in the case.

The woman had testified for several hours, telling the court Donah abused her physically as they wrestled and on occasions when he was angry with her.

The woman also had said Donah raped her in September 2012.

She was in the courtroom when the verdict was read a few minutes after noon Wednesday and left promptly after the trial's outcome was announced.

'WANTED TO MAKE SURE'

The jury foreman, Austin Couture, said the panel made multiple requests for testimony read-backs and legal definitions so he and his fellow jurors could have a thorough understanding of the evidence and what the state requires to convict someone of first-degree rape and first-degree sexual abuse.

"There just wasn't enough evidence," Couture said, speaking for the jury about those charges. "We wanted to make sure we did the right thing."

Couture said the 10-man, two-woman panel would have liked to see more detail of the events the victim described relating to the two felony charges for which Donah was acquitted.

'GAG ORDER'

Donah's parents left the courthouse several minutes before he exited with his attorneys, Brian Barrett and Lorraine White.

When asked by the Press-Republican for a comment, Donah said, "Not right now."

Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne said he could not speak with reporters, as Judge Patrick McGill had issued a gag order prohibiting attorneys from talking to the media about anything related to the case.

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