LIMA — John Kehoe, convicted by an Allen County jury in January on three counts of rape, was sentenced Thursday to 23 years in prison.
Judge Terri Kohlrieser sentenced Kehoe, 36, to terms of seven, eight and eight years in prison on each of the three rape counts, felonies of the first degree, and ordered those sentences to be served consecutively. The three counts of the indictment returned by a grand jury alleged the Elida man sexually violated a 23-year-old Leipsic woman against her will in three distinct and separate ways at an Elida home in January 2019.
Kehoe did not take the witness stand during his trial, but jurors did hear from the victim, who said Kehoe raped her on Jan. 26, 2019, at the Elida home he shared with his former fiancee.
The young woman, who was an acquaintance of the daughter of Kehoe’s former girlfriend, told jurors she was digitally penetrated, forced to perform oral sex and then was penetrated vaginally by Kehoe after drinking alcohol to the point of losing consciousness at the Elida residence.
Jurors also viewed a video of a jailhouse interview between Allen County Sheriff’s Office Detective Callie Basinger and Kehoe in which the defendant denied ever touching the victim. Testimony presented by a forensic scientist with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, however, indicated that DNA found on a vaginal swab taken from the victim pinpointed Kehoe as a “one in more than a trillion” match.
During Thursday’s sentencing hearing, Kohlrieser referenced two documents Kehoe had submitted to the court following his conviction. In both motions, filed without the assistance of public defender Steve Chamberlain, Kehoe requested a new trial. Chamberlain, however, said he was not willing to file such a motion on his client’s behalf.
“I couldn’t find any grounds for a new trial, and I will ask the court to not consider that motion,” Chamberlain said. “There is no new evidence that has come to light since the time of the trial that I am aware of.”
Chamberlain said Kehoe nonetheless can appeal the verdict in the case, which the defendant indicated he intends to do.
Assistant Allen County Prosecuting Attorney Kenneth Sturgill asked the judge to impose a lengthy sentence on Kehoe, citing the defendant’s disrespect for authority as evidenced by his lengthy criminal record.
“What we have is someone who repeatedly has shown he does not care how his actions affect other people. That’s the kind of person we need to protect the public from,” Sturgill said in asking for consecutive sentences for Kehoe. “This is someone who took advantage of a young lady who he knew was unable to resist.”