Defense asks for statements to be dismissed in Lima rape case

LIMA — A judge should rule within a few days on whether statements made by a man accused of rape can be included in his upcoming trial.

Monday marked the second part of a suppression hearing in the case of Joshua Vititoe. His attorney, Steve Chamberlain of the Allen County Public Defenders Office, sought in February to exclude statements Vititoe made to investigators following his arrest. Chamberlain said Vititoe wasn’t advised of his right to remain silent or to have an attorney present during questioning.

Judge Terri Kohlrieser said she’d make a decision within the next few days. The case is set for a final pretrial on May 10 and a jury trial starting June 10.

A March 29 hearing focused on most of those statements. Monday’s hearing focused on a dashcam video of Vititoe’s first interactions with officers, shortly after 911 received a call about an alleged sexual assault at the Country Inn on Elida Road.

The video reviewed Monday, which wasn’t available at the March hearing, included the original stop by Deputy Ryan Ream of the Allen County Sheriff’s Office. The three-minute video reviewed Monday had little to do with the incident, as it mostly focused on small talk between Ream and a highway patrol trooper and asking Vititoe to sit inside a cruiser because the weather was cold on Dec. 8, 2023.

The dashcam video didn’t include audio for the first minute, but Ream testified most of the conversation was about the weather and confirming Vititoe’s identity.

According to court records, the victim allowed Vititoe to spend the evening with her at Country Inn for the night. The woman told investigators the two were in the same bed but under separate blankets. After falling asleep, she awoke to find her jeans being unzipped and the tip of Vititoe’s finger inside her anus.

Vititoe initially denied any sexual activity but later did admit digital penetration had occurred, according to investigators.

Reach David Trinko at 567-242-0467 or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.