PDT Staff Writer
The man nabbed by federal authorities when he tried to flee the country to Japan, will now spend the next eight years in prison.
A Scioto County Common Pleas Court jury deliberated only 90 minutes in returning a guilty verdict in the rape trial of Tyler R. Fitzgerald, 22, of Minford, Tuesday. Scioto County Common Pleas Judge William T. Marshall, immediately sentenced Fitzgerald to eight years in prison for the rape of a minor. The jury found Fitzgerald guilty of rape and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.
Fitzgerald, a Marine stationed in Okinawa, was arrested by officers of the Homeland Security Department acting on a Scioto County Prosecutor’s warrant as he passed through the Los Angeles International Airport. He was extradited back to Scioto County to stand trial. The state’s case, presented by Assistant Scioto County Prosecutors Pat Apel and Julie Hutchinson, took two days and included 10 witnesses.
According to the prosecution, the incident occurred at a residence on Highland Bend Road during a drinking party which included adult males and minor females. Witnesses testified that the minors were intoxicated after playing a game and drinking beer and Jagermeister. The testimony showed that one of the minor females passed out from intoxication and was raped by Fitzgerald.
Abby Schwaderer, a forensic scientist from the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation laboratory in London, Ohio, testified that sperm taken from the minor’s undergarments matched Fitzgerald’s DNA.
Fitzgerald was represented by Portsmouth Attorney Rick Nash.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.