YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A 78-year-old man who was facing a first-degree felony rape charge entered an Alford Plea Thursday to a reduced charge after the victim said the attack never happened and DNA evidence was inconclusive.
Morris Perry, 78, entered a plea in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court to importuning, a third-degree felony.
Under a plea bargain worked out by Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer McLaughlin and defense attorney Doug Taylor, Perry was sentenced to one-year probation with that year to be spent in the Mahoning County Jail.
Since Perry has already served 449 days in the jail awaiting the disposition of his case, he was ordered to be released immediately by Judge Maureen Sweeney.
Perry was charged with raping a 13-year-old girl in July of 2018 in Youngstown. He went through a competency evaluation last year that determined he was competent to stand trial.
McLaughlin said prosecutors were stuck because the victim in the case said Perry never touched her and the attack never happened.
Investigators did collect DNA in the case but the results were inconclusive, McLaughlin said.
She said at least Perry was made to plead guilty to a sex offense and he must register for 15 years as a sex offender.
An Alford Plea means a defendant maintains his innocence but admits that there is enough evidence that a jury may be able to convict him.