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Rape suspect acquitted

By Staff
Melissa Cason
Franklin County Times
A Franklin County Jury acquitted a Russellville man after serving almost four years in prison as a result of a rape conviction.
Marcus Hurly is a free man more than two years after a Franklin County Jury found him guilty of rape.
While Hurly was serving his time, an appellate court threw out the conviction based on witness testimony in the first trial. Hurly was released from custody early in 2007.
District Attorney Joey Rushing said that the conviction was thrown out because witnesses from a prior case were called to testify.
"Cases like this one are difficult to win especially when we know more information than the jury about previous acts not allowed into evidence," Rushing said.
Hurly was accused of raping a 20-year-old employee of Hotskee's Lounge in Littleville in September 2003. The alleged victim told police that Hurly had forced himself in her car, and drove her to an abandoned house in Russellville before raping her.
However, Defense Attorney John Benn presented testimony of a convenience store clerk who said she saw the victim with Hurly, adding the victim did not ask for help or drive away when Hurly entered the store to purchase condoms.
During the course of the second trial, the state made several motions for a mistrial based on emotional outbursts by Hurly's family, however, Judge John Jolly denied all motions for a mistrial.
The jury came back with a not guilty verdict of all charges of rape, sodomy and unlawful imprisonment in less than two hours.
Rushing said that the victim was overcome with emotion as the verdict was read.
"We [Rushing and Assistant District Attorney Joey Rushing] did the best we could," Rushing said. "We appreciate the jury for considering this case."