Opp man on trial for rape

Published 12:05am Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The trial against an Opp man charged with raping and sodomizing an 11-year-old girl in 2010 began Monday.

Jonathan Coon, then 21, was arrested that March following allegations he had sexual relations with two girls under age 16. By the time the case went to trial, only one victim – now 14 – was willing to testify. She was the first witness on the stand following opening arguments Monday.

Testimony showed the girl met Coon through a friend and that the alleged incident occurred while the trio were mud riding on T.T. Clark Road.

“This man didn’t care that she was a little girl,” said Chief Assistant District Attorney Grace Jeter as she described how Coon allegedly raped the child in the backseat of his Chevrolet Blazer while the girl’s friend was asleep in the front seat. Jeter said the child confessed the rape to her sister, who then contacted police. She said Coon admitted “to it all and blames the 11-year-old. He said she wanted him to take her virginity.”

In his opening statement, Coon’s attorney, Mark Christensen, said Coon’s confession was coerced after hours of police interrogation. He said the victim changed her statement multiple times.

During questioning, the victim said she did deny the rape.

“At first, I was scared I was going to get in trouble,” she said. “But did you honestly think I wanted to (have sex)? I was 11. It was almost four years ago. I try to forget. You figure it’s going to go away, but it doesn’t.”

The jury also heard testimony from a Department of Human Resources social worker and the case’s lead investigator before ending the day.

The state is expected to rest today following medical testimony. The defense will then present its case.

Coon, who is charged with rape I, sodomy I and sexual abuse of a child under 12, has been held in the Covington County Jail under a $190,000 bond since his arrest in 2010.

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