Rape trial Day 1

Conaway rape trial begins in Georgetown

Opening statements offer contradictory views of case
September 16, 2019

Prosecutors and defense attorneys addressed the jury Sept. 16 in the first day of the first-degree rape trial against Clay Conaway. Prosecutors said Conaway raped and injured a young woman, while defense attorneys said the woman consented.

Deputy Attorney General Casey Ewart said the two met on a social media account, which led to the woman visiting Conaway at his Georgetown home.  There, Ewart said, they kissed and cuddled, but then things got rough.

“Evidence will show she suffered injury,” she said.

Natalie Woloshin, defense attorney for Conaway, said all members of the jury have to believe beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime occurred in order to find Conaway guilty.

“The state has to present evidence that makes you firmly convinced that a crime happened,” she said.

Both the woman and Conaway are expected to testify during the trial, which could run through Sept. 25.

It took about three hours for the defense and prosecution to agree on a jury of seven middle-aged white men, two middle-aged white women, and two black men and a black woman, all appearing to be in their 20s or 30s.

The four alternates chosen were three middle-aged white men and a middle-aged white woman.

Sussex County Superior Court Judge Richard F. Stokes told the jury that prosecutors Casey Ewart and Rebecca Anderson have the burden to prove Conaway is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of first-degree rape.

“It is your duty to consider all evidence presented at trial,” he said.

Conaway is facing a rape charge after a woman accused him in 2018 of assaulting her at his home in Georgetown. After a grand jury indicted him in August 2018, five other women came forward with accusations including second-degree rape and strangulation, but Stokes ruled each case will be heard separately at a future date.

Defense attorney Joe Hurley filed a motion to strike a witness because the state did not provide the defense with the witness information before trial. “They came up with a third that they had not disclosed,” he said. As of press time, Stokes had not ruled on the motion. 

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