District court

Separate jury trials are planned for a man accused of raping an 8-year-old and aggravated indecent liberties with a 15-year-old following a pretrial conference in Dickinson County District Court Wednesday morning.

Martin Young, 41, entered pleas of innocent to both charges in court on Oct. 24.

In the pretrial conference Judge Benjamin Sexton denied a motion by the state to try the two together.

Young’s attorney Brandon Barrett argued against combining the two which he said would “tug on the souls of the jury members.’ Look, here’s a bad guy. Let’s lock him up.’ The risk of poisoning the jury is very high.”

County Attorney Andrea Purvis argued that both cases are similar in nature.

“That such joinder would be in the interest of judicial economy and in the interest of criminal justice,” she said in her motion.

Sexton also agreed that Facebook messages between the 15-year-old's mother and Young could not be used as evidence.

Sexton said the messages were “too vague to put in front of a jury.”

The case involving the 8-year-old will be tried first. The date was set for Jan. 13.

According the information presented at the preliminary hearing, the alleged sexual misconduct happened in Abilene on March 20.

The Abilene Police Department did not get called until June 17. The young girl was forensically interviewed on July 11.

A forensic interviewer told the court at the preliminary hearing that, using diagrams, the interview revealed the misconduct.

Under Jessica’s Law, the conviction carries a sentencing range of imprisonment for life with a mandatory minimum term of imprisonment of not less than 25 years.

The trial on the alleged aggravated indecent liberties with the 15-year-old is set to start Feb. 10.

At the preliminary hearing the young woman testified that several people were sleeping in May in the living room in a home in Dickinson County because it had air conditioning. She said she was sleeping when Young allegedly inappropriately touched her.

She informed her mother by writing a note.

At the pretrial conference Dickinson County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Ricky Williams said he interrogated Young on June 7.

Williams testified that Young said he was sleeping in the same room with the 15-year-old when she appeared to be having a bad dream.

“He rubbed her back,” Williams said.

The sentencing range is a minimum of 55 months to 61 months and a maximum of 221 months to 247 months.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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