A Medina County jury Thursday found a 34-year-old Lodi man not guilty of raping a family friend. Daniel Archer was acquitted after the jury deliberated about five hours.
If convicted, he could have faced up to 11 years in prison.
Archer’s attorney, David Gedrock, said the jurors made the right decision.
“The evidence didn’t prove the case,” he said.
Archer was accused of raping the 31-year-old wife of a friend in a camper trailer in Litchfield Township on Aug. 4 last year following a graduation celebration.
After returning in a “party bus” from a night of drinking in The Valley bar district of Akron, she told police she went to sleep in the camper and awakened to Archer raping her.
During opening arguments Tuesday, Gedrock told the jurors that his client got in the wrong bed by mistake, but there was no sex.
“Two people — (the woman) and Dan — got in the wrong bed. That’s what happened,” he said.
Gedrock said physical evidence and expert testimony that “was most crucial” to the prosecution’s case was flawed.
County Assistant Prosecutor Scott Salisbury told the jury during opening arguments that investigators with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation discovered semen on the woman’s underwear that matched Archer’s DNA.
But Gedrock said that during cross-examination, the BCI expert said the DNA match could have come from sweat, saliva or skins cells.
“I got them to admit it wasn’t conclusive,” Gedrock said. “If it isn’t conclusive, how does that prove beyond reasonable doubt that my client was guilty?
“That’s not evidence of sexual conduct and they need that to prove rape.”
Gedrock said he understood allegations of rape must be thoroughly investigated. But he questioned the decision to prosecute his client.
“I really think they should have been more realistic in his case,” Gedrock said. “The evidence was weak.”
County Prosecutor Dean Holman said he had no regrets about going forward.
“We put on the best case we could, and the jury decided the verdict of not guilty,” Holman said. “We accept the jury’s verdict.”
Archer’s brother, Greg Archer, of Chatham Township, argued the case never should have gone to trial.
“They had no hard evidence,” he said. “That prosecutor just got up and lied to the jury, and they didn’t buy it.”
Greg Archer said his brother’s friends and family planned to celebrate the verdict Thursday night.
The trial began Monday with jury selection.
The case was handed to the seven men and five women on the jury Wednesday afternoon.
Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ngfalcon.