XENIA — An area man could be sentenced to life after a Greene County jury found him guilty of rape, a first-degree felony, and sexual battery, a third-degree felony, on Aug. 22.
The group of 12 did not reach a verdict on an additional count of rape for Steven A. Blackson, 40. According to the foreman, more time would not bring the jury to a decision.
Blackson was arrested in January 2017 and has been held since in the Greene County Jail with a $100,000 bond. Allegedly, the incidents happened over a span of five years, beginning in 2010. The female victim was under 13 when the alleged abuse started.
The first count of rape carries the possibility of a life sentence, according to assistant prosecutor Cheri Stout. The minimum indefinite sentence for this count is 10 years, while the sexual battery charge carries a potential of five years. Blackson will also be classified as a Tier III sex offender.
Montgomery County Common Pleas records show that Blackson has a prior criminal history. In 2003, he was convicted on two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.
After four hours of deliberation Aug. 22, the verdicts were read aloud to the courtroom — the victim and her family on one side and the defendant on the other.
But before the verdict was a morning of trial, leading a few last witnesses to the stand, the admittance of evidence, and closing arguments from the attorneys.
“He took advantage of her,” assistant prosecutor Nicole Burke said, listing the three alleged events that happened in Fairborn and Dayton.
“She had to come forward and tell you what he did to her,” Stout followed, speaking to the jury. “She sat here on the stand and told you.”
Defense attorney Christ Theodor argued one point that he made earlier in the trial: that Blackson was incarcerated during the time-frame the victim said the first event occurred.
According to Theodor, the victim’s statement indicated three times that she was 12 when the alleged rape happened the first time.
“She confirmed it on the stand,” Theodor said. “He was incarcerated … he was in prison. It couldn’t have happened when she was 12.”
In rebuttal, Stout said, “She’s a juvenile, she didn’t keep a diary, of course there’s going to be some discrepancy whether she remembers exactly that she’s 11 or 12.”
Greene County court records indicate that Blackson was incarcerated once for failing to register a new address as a sex offender and once again, a few months later, for failing to provide notice of a change in employment.
The defense again argued that there was no forensic evidence, and that evidence was based strictly on the victim’s word. Theodor asked Judge Stephen Wolaver twice for a motion for dismissal — or a judgment of acquittal based on “insufficient evidence.”
The judge denied the request both times.
In closing, both sides made final pleas to the jury.
“Bottom line, I don’t think they proved the case beyond a reasonable doubt … I ask you to return a verdict of not guilty,” Theodor said.
“When you go back and discuss this case, we encourage you to think about all the evidence you had here to observe …,” Burke said. “And once you judge the credibility of the witnesses, you’ll come to one conclusion that he is guilty of two counts of rape and one count of sexual battery.”
Court records show a final disposition hearing is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 27.
As for the final count of rape that was left undecided, the court gave the state until Friday, Aug. 25 to make a decision on how to proceed, according to Stout.
“We are very pleased with the time and thought that the jury put into the deliberations,” she said after the trial. “We appreciate their hard work.”