Court Of Appeals Upholds Life Sentence In Merryman Case

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The Fourth District Court of Appeals has agreed with the trial court’s findings and affirmed the conviction and life-sentence of Richard Merryman, who was convicted in Athens County of two counts of rape and one count of kidnapping in September 2012.

Merryman attorneys had argued that the trial court had erred in finding Merryman mentally competent to stand trial, in accepting his guilty pleas to the charges, in denying a motion to suppress evidence in the case and by imposing separate sentences for the rape and the kidnapping charges.

Instead, the Fourth District Court of Appeals found that, in fact, Merryman was competent to stand trial and that his guilty pleas were knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently given.

The Court also said that Merryman had waived his right to appeal any ruling on the pre-trial motion to suppress evidence when he voluntarily entered his guilty pleas.

Finally, the Court said that the kidnapping, in this case, was a separate crime because Merryman had removed his victim from a hallway and into a bathroom to avoid detection during the sexual assault.

The Court agreed that constituted kidnapping and was subject to a separate penalty from the rapes.

“I am very happy that the 4th in this case,” Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said. “Merryman will continue to serve the remainder of his life sentence as found by the trial court.”