Mistrial declared in gang rape of 9-year-old Uintah County girl
NOTE: This story originally indicated there were four men involved. Those were the original charges but the charges against one man were dismissed when the victim's mother, and the only witness against him, could not be located.
(KUTV) - A mistrial has been declared Wednesday in the gang-rape case of a 9-year-old girl from Uintah County because there were not enough jurors.
Larson Rondeau, Randall Flatlip and Jerry Flatlip all entered a not guilty plea in a preliminary hearing and were charged in 8th District Court with one count each of first-degree felony rape of a child and first-degree felony sodomy upon a child. The men have been in custody for the alleged rape of the child that occurred March 27, 2016.
Charges against another man, Josiah Rondeau, were dismissed and he was released from custody because the girl's mother, the the single witness against him, could not be located.
According to a statement released by the Uintah County Sheriff's Office, the mother brought her daughter to spend Easter weekend with a friend. The mother and her friend went into the garage to smoke meth for about 30 minutes while the girl slept on the couch, court documents state.
The 9-year-old told investigators the men woke her up and took her to a bedroom, where she was sexually assaulted. One man allegedly threatened to kill her if she told anyone of the assault, the court papers state.
The mistrial occurred after jury selection became problematic from lack of attendance by jurors.
There were 120 potential jurors for the trial, with 96 expected in attendance after some jurors were excused from the selection. Of those 96 people, 36 potential jurors did not show up for jury selection.
With the diminished pool, the prosecution moved for a mistrial.
It’s an unusual development, but I wouldn’t frame this as the defendants walking free. They will have another hearing on Dec. 18 to determine what to do going forward.
Administrative Office of the Courts Public Information Officer Geoff Fattah said the incidence illustrates the importance of jury duty.
“This is a great example of why we want people to take jury duty seriously,” he said.
The alleged offenses took place in Uintah County, but the venue was moved to Summit County out of concern that the defendants would not get a fair trial in Uintah County.
A retrial is scheduled for December 18.