Jury selection for a nearly four-year-old rape case overturned by an appeals court began on Monday.
David Adams, 39, formerly of New Road, is facing eight counts of first-degree felony rape that could land him in prison for 80 years if found guilty.
He is accused of raping a girl he knew while she was between the ages of 15 and 17, according to charges.
The 7th District Appeals Court sent the case back to trial in December because they ruled Mahoning County Judge John Durkin should have allowed Adams to withdraw his Alford Plea before sentencing.
An Alford Plea is when a criminal defendant pleads guilty but maintains actual innocence to the charges, similar to a no contest plea for a misdemeanor.
Adams entered an Alford Plea to all eight counts of rape in October 2011. Prosecutors recommended a 15-year prison sentence as part of the agreement.
Two weeks before sentencing, Adams filed a motion asking to withdraw his plea because he felt he didn’t have enough time to think about the agreement and was subsequently humiliated by media reports, records say.
Prosecutors argued the agreement was satisfactory for the girl since she was spared from testifying and that they had agreed to lower the sentencing recommendation from a 25-year sentence. They also argued Adams had been free on bond for the two years since charges were file and they believed he was trying to further delay proceedings to remain free, records say.
Durkin then sentenced Adams to 15 years in prison, causing Adams to collapse in the courtroom.
Appeals judges unanimously ruled that pre-sentence motions to withdraw pleas should be “freely and liberally granted,” according to records.
They vacated the Alford Plea and sent the case back to Durkin’s court for trial.