Under Microscope, Steubenville Rape Trial Kicks Off

No electronic devices allowed in courtroom after weeks of online furor

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 13, 2013 9:50 AM CDT

(Newser) – There will be no electronic devices allowed in the Steubenville courtroom where the trial begins today for the two high school football players accused of raping a 16-year-old girl last summer—ironic considering how the accused and the entire town have been on trial via all matter of social media since the case first came to light via Twitter and an Instagram photo, reports the New York Times. The close-knit Ohio town of 18,000 has struggled under the sudden and harsh spotlight, along with many people who were not charged with the crime. "It's making a mockery of the whole town," said one woman, who, like many, did not want to be identified.

The accuser has said she will voluntarily testify at the trial, and a judge in neighboring West Virginia ruled in favor of a defense motion last night, compelling two more teens from there to take the stand, reports NBC News. "The family wants this matter over so they can move on with their lives and their daughter's healing," said a lawyer for the girl's family. If convicted, quarterback Trent Mays and wide receiver Ma'Lik Richmond could be sent to jail until each is 21. "I thought these guys were innocent until proven guilty, but they're not," says Richmond's grandmother. "These people online have made them guilty? Why have they ruined them?"

Judge Thomas Lipps is said to be well qualified for the trial of two high school football players accused of rape. The trial starts today.
Judge Thomas Lipps is said to be well qualified for the trial of two high school football players accused of rape. The trial starts today.   (HeraldStarOnline)
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