A Bellevue man faces up to about 36 years in prison after being convicted of abducting a Vermilion woman at gunpoint whom he later raped when she was bound with zip ties and gagged.
Brian M. Jury, 39, most recently of 10701 Strecker Road, was found guilty Thursday of five felonies after a six-day jury trial in Erie County Common Pleas Court. The trial, before Judge Roger Binette, started June 17 -- Jury's 39th birthday -- and ended June 24 with closing statements from Erie County Prosecutor Kevin Baxter and defense attorney Jack Bradley.
In mid-November, an Erie County grand jury indicted on nine charges.
Baxter said the jury couldn't come to a unanimous decision or resolution on the two counts of kidnapping Jury faced, but they convicted him of the "lesser included offense" of abduction. The jury convicted the defendant of abducting a 31-year-old Vermilion woman at gunpoint in Lorain on Nov. 1, taking her back to a small camper at his residence and raping her twice.
Jury was found guilty of two counts each of abduction and rape and one charge of felonious assault. The rape and abduction convictions came with a firearm specification, which means he will serve three mandatory, additional years on each charge.
The jurors acquitted the defendant of attempted murder and three counts of rape.
The verdict came Thursday afternoon after two days, or about 13 hours, of deliberation.
Two alternate jurors had to be used. Baxter said on Thursday morning a juror had some health issues that required an ambulance take the person to the hospital and another juror found out there was a death in the family the night before the first day of deliberation.
Sixteen witnesses testified for the state while four took the stand on behalf of Jury.
"We had well over 100 exhibits," Baxter said.
The prosecutor was asked what some of the most important evidence in the case was.
"Some of the prime evidence was her being found on Strecker Road stark naked and found bound and gagged," he said.
Baxter said the defense tried to say there was a prior sexual relationship between Jury and the victim, with the defendant alleging the woman was a prostitute who was being paid for sex. Jury also accused the victim of stealing money from him.
"She denied any of that. She denied having a sexual relationship with him," Baxter said.
"She knew him casually. ... Her relationship with him was trying to rent an apartment from him," the prosecutor continued.
"The evidence proved that," Baxter added, citing texts two days before the Nov. 1 rape and one from the day of the crime.
"They had nothing to do with sex, but everything to do with renting an apartment," Baxter said.
Jury was arrested Nov. 1, hours after a passing female motorist found the victim on the side of Strecker Road. After Jury left the woman in the camper, she managed to crawl out and rolled to the road, which was about 20 feet away.
On Nov. 8, about 25 law enforcement officers from three area agencies searched the Strecker Road property where Jury lived. Authorities determined he was purchasing the property on a land contract, found and identified animal bones, but no human remains.
"We understand (Jury) may have been living with a fiancée in Lorain at the time he was arrested," Erie County Sheriff Paul Sigsworth told the Reflector at the time.
The woman was walking in the Lorain area about 9 a.m. Nov. 1 when Jury, whom she recognized, drove alongside her and offered her a ride.
"She told us he told her repeatedly he was going to kill her and was going to bury her," Sigsworth said earlier.
The Lorain Police Department arrested Jury about 6:15 p.m. after a short chase in the city.
Baxter said the evidence recovered during Jury's arrest was important to the case. He said officers found the knife which Jury used to threaten the victim and held to her cheek and throat.
"On that knife was her DNA," the prosecutor added.
There was testimony from Jury in which he said the victim reportedly saw the gun in a cup holder in his vehicle.
"He was trying to explain how she might have innocently seen the gun. No, she said, 'He pulled it out and pointed it at my brain,'" Baxter said.
The small, silver gun resembled a Derringer.
"She described it," Baxter said. "When they (Lorain police) stopped him, he had that exact thing on him."
Jury is being held without bond until his July 14 sentencing hearing.
"The judge canceled his bond. He hadn't made bond. He's been in custody since Nov. 1," Baxter said.
The defendant faces up to about 36 years in prison.
"I'm going to wait for the pre-sentence investigation," Baxter said when asked about his sentence recommendation.