LIMA — A man who served 13 years in prison for killing another man in 2001 was acquitted of rape Friday.
Ross McWay, 37, smiled and looked back at his family members who were crying and hugging after a jury acquitted him on two counts of rape. The jury of eight men and four women could not reach a verdict on the charge of kidnapping.
Judge Jeffrey Reed ordered McWay remain in custody since the kidnapping charge remains and the prosecution will have to decide if they want to take it to trial again. McWay also faces up to nine months in prison for violating terms of his release from his 2001 case. He and another man fired shots at a car to stop the driver, Jimmy Bunley, 21, then shot Bunley six times after he crashed the car. Bunley died from his wounds.
McWay’s attorney, Steve Chamberlain, declined to comment after the verdicts.
Assistant Allen County Prosecutor Terri Kohlrieser said she will review the kidnapping charge, speak to the victim about it and decide whether to retry it.
Kohlrieser said she was a little surprised by the verdict.
“I don’t know what the victim’s motive would be to lie. There was never any reason for her to lie. She came in here and bore her soul,” Kohlrieser said.
Kohlrieser said she respected the jury’s verdict.
The jury deliberated about five hours before reaching its decision. Earlier in the day, the prosecution and defense delivered closing argument. Both sides took a long time making their final arguments.
The woman met McWay at Sportscaster’s bar March 23 and bought crack cocaine from him that she and her father smoked. She left with McWay and his nephew, then had sex with McWay at an apartment but told McWay she wanted to stop and he did. She testified McWay agreed to give her a ride home but drove around while telling her he wanted payment in the form of sex for more crack cocaine he gave her. The woman said she repeatedly told him no. She said eventually McWay stopped on a dead-end street, slapped her and told her he would hurt her if she didn’t comply. She said she agreed to have sex so she wouldn’t get hurt.
Chamberlain told the jury McWay’s accuser had consensual sex with McWay. Chamberlain also questioned how frightened the woman was, saying she was left alone in the car while McWay walked into two gas stations. He said she could have gotten help, as gas stations have multiple cameras and people around who would have called the police on her request, he said.
“I’m not trying to shame her. I’m just stating the facts,” Chamberlain said.
Kohlrieser pleaded with the jury to not hold the woman’s past against her. She said the law is very clear on what rape is and when someone says no it means no.
“Every last one of you raised your hands and said you would follow the law,” Kohlrieser said to the jurors. “A woman, whether you like her or not. Whether you like her choices or not, was raped.”
But Chamberlain said all the woman’s actions, when considered as a whole, showed McWay did not rape her.
“The evidence in front of you is consistent for what I call bargaining for sex,” he said. “It was sex that was consensual.”
Reach Greg Sowinski at 567-242-0464 or on Twitter @Lima_Sowinski.