Judge declares mistrial in rape case

Football High School Sports

A Benton County Circuit Court judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in the case of a former Corvallis High School football player charged with rape.

Judge Matthew Donohue, who was presiding over Marco Brewer’s trial, granted the defense’s motion for a mistrial after the prosecutor in the case asked the alleged victim a question the judge deemed improper during the girl’s testimony.

Brewer’s defense attorney, Stephen Ensor, asked for the judge to declare a mistrial after Deputy District Attorney Kristen Farnworth asked the question during her testimony on Tuesday. The question pertained to an allegation one of the alleged victim’s friends had previously made that Brewer had sexually assaulted the friend. The friend later recanted the allegation.

Donohue said the question could cause jury members to speculate about whether Brewer is a serial sexual abuser, which would prejudice the jury against Brewer and keep him from having a fair trial. The judge said he didn’t think there was a curative instruction he could give the jury members that would keep them from considering whether he had previously sexually assaulted someone.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Ryan Joslin said the charges against Brewer still stand and that he expects a new trial date will be set.

Brewer, who now is 18, was 17 when prosecutors charged him on July 28 with first-degree rape, first-degree unlawful sexual penetration, first-degree sexual abuse and two counts of second-degree sexual abuse. The alleged incident took place on May 14 at Brewer’s house following Corvallis High School’s prom.

In Oregon, a person who is 15 to 17 years old and who is charged with a Measure 11 crime must be tried and sentenced as an adult.

This story will be updated.

Lillian Schrock covers public safety for the Gazette-Times. She may be reached at 541-758-9548 or lillian.schrock@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter at @LillieSchrock. 

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