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New trial sought for rapist

By Katherine Wartell

The lawyer for a Manhattan man convicted of committing 21 sex offenses against two minor girls requested Friday that the man be given a new trial.

John Goodpasture Jr., 43, was convicted in August of rape, aggravated indecent liberties and criminal sodomy against a 10 and 13-year-old girl. In Riley County District Court Friday, Gene Parrish, Goodpasture’s lawyer, argued that exculpatory evidence — that is,  evidence favorable to the defendant — was kept from him during the trial by Assistant County Attorneys Kendra Lewison and Bethany Fields.

Attorney Brenda Jordan testified during Friday’s hearing that Lewison made passing comments to her indicating that two weeks prior to the trial, there were discrepancies in the statements two witnesses were planning to give. She said Lewison indicated that one witness was having memory problems while the other had recanted her story.

Jordan said the conversation took place on Aug. 23, six days after Goodpasture’s conviction, during a break in another hearing. She told the court she could not remember the exact wording of the conversation.

In court, Parrish argued that if that information had been provided to him, he could have questioned the witnesses about it during the trial.

In response, Fields told the judge that the state had not coached the witnesses and that the state had told Parrish in November that the witness recanted information she had given. She said the witness explained in the trial why she gave different stories.

After calling a recess to meet with the counsel privately, District Judge David Stutzman declined to rule on the issue. Friday’s hearing was originally slated to be a sentencing, but Judge Stutzman continued it to Thursday, Oct. 18 at 4 p.m.

Goodpasture was originally arrested on June 14, 2011 after one of the girls, a 10-year-old, reported to police that he had raped her in the same month.

After a week-long trial, he was found guilty of five counts against the 10-year-old girl, including one count of rape and four counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, committed between December 2010 and June 2011.

He was found guilty of 16 counts against the 13-year-old, including 15 counts of rape and one count of aggravated criminal sodomy, committed between September 2010 and June 2011. Officials said the girl came forward after he was arrested.

If sentenced for those convictions, he could face 25 years to life in prison due to the nature of the crimes and the age of his victims.

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