1pm update Friday
The jury is deliberating the fate of thomas Acosta. We await their verdict.
6pm Update Thursday
Court resumes Friday morning. Reports say that the prosecution has achieved some status for the charges filed against Thomas Acosta – except for coercion. Whether it’s enough to to get a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt is unknown, of course, or whether Judge Branford might determine that the supporting evidence is too weak, due to their elements of hearsay, to justify a conviction.
Court recessed at 5pm after hearing testimony from a nurse who examined April Loper when she came in for an evaluation upon returning to Newport from Redding in January of last year. What the nurse was allowed to say in front of the jury was strictly limited to describing Loper’s wounds. The prosecution is expected to put one more witness on the stand on Thursday. In the meantime defense attorney Guy Greco made a request of Judge Thomas Branford that the charges against Thomas Acosta be dismissed due to lack of sufficient evidence. The judge replied that he would make a ruling on the request in the morning.
Thomas’ trial continues at 9:30am with the jury scheduled to re-enter the courtroom at 1:30pm.
This morning’s court session to determine whether accused rapist Thomas Acosta will be convicted had difficulty getting traction today. While a large support group for now deceased April Loper watched from the audience seats, attorneys bantered back and forth about which evidence should be entered and which should not be entered. But when they found what they agreed was admissible evidence on the Acosta police interview dvd, they couldn’t get it to play on courtroom video equipment. So the jury was ushered out. They got it working using defense attorney Guy Greco’s laptop, but then they couldn’t get the dvd to cue to the precise set of words that were uttered by Acosta that the prosecution wanted the jury to hear.
By then, it was time for lunch.
Acosta is accused of repeatedly sexually assaulting April Loper of Toledo and then doing it again in Redding, California early last year. The two were determined to be in a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. Loper’s family characterized her relationship with Acosta as based on fear for her life as well as the lives of her family. Family members said Loper expressed this information to them, saying she was scared to death of him, begging them not to call the police, that she would handle things; otherwise she feared for everyone as to what he might do.
Court records show that Acosta and Loper left her family’s home on Christmas Eve 2012. They wound up in Redding where Loper claimed Acosta repeatedly assaulted her. Loper said at one point she managed to sneak away and run to police. Loper’s family said she told them that the Redding Police officers didn’t believe her story but they did make a courtesy call to Newport Police, since she was officially listed as a missing person by that time.
Back in Newport, police talked with her and urged her to undergo a sexual abuse/rape examination at Pacific Communities Hospital. She did so.
Acosta was arrested in Redding and transported back to Lincoln County and lodged in the jail on a number of sexual assault charges.
As Acosta’s trial date loomed, April Loper and her father were headed west on Highway 20 near Eddyville. A car coming the other way hit them head on. Both died. Now there is no way for Acosta to face his accuser. And all statements made of any importance are now all second hand information. Hearsay, as they call it in court; not admissible. Without admissible evidence, the prosecution has no case.
The latest whirlwind of activity between the district attorney’s office and defense attorney Guy Greco has been to present a trial during which a judge could determine whether there is any evidence that is not inadmissible hearsay, and if there is enough of it to convince a jury that Acosta assaulted April Loper beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case resumes at 1pm.