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Trial for Kent State student accused of rape postponed until November

The trial of McCoy Watkins, the Kent State student accused of raping two fellow students last fall, has been postponed until Nov. 21, the district court ruled in August. The trial, originally scheduled for Aug. 22, will occur almost exactly one year after he allegedly broke into an off-campus residence on North Lincoln Street after a party.

A recap of the case

Watkins, who was a third-year architecture student when the crime was reported, allegedly re-entered the residence after a party, where he then committed the two rapes. He was charged with a second-degree felony count of burglary as well as two counts of felony rape.

He was arrested in April of this year and was released from house arrest after posting bail in May. He now awaits trial. 

According to Paul Mastriacovo, attorney and counselor at law and senior lecturer at Kent State, there are many reasons why trials may be postponed. 

“There are a number of reasons to postpone a trial,” he said. “One would be that the defense isn’t ready. So, the judge would then, in the interest of justice, allow the case to be postponed so the defense has more time.”

Mastriacovo, who has taught at Kent State for 40 years, started his career as a public defender. He said that cases may also be postponed when the defendant is not competent to stand trial. 

“What legal competence is, is because of a mental disability, [the defendant] can’t help their lawyer defend them,” Mastriacovo said. 

Another reason as to why a case may be postponed is if the defense and the prosecution are trying to work out some sort of plea deal. Mastriacovo said that is “highly unlikely” in Watkins’ case.

“Sometimes a victim will not want to go forward,” Mastriacovo said. “For a whole bunch of reasons, and you can think in a rape case, some of those reasons. So, a prosecutor might be having some difficulty with the main witness, the victim.”

Watkins’ defense attorney, Jeffrey Kakish of Kakish Law, LLC, could not be reached for comment by the time of publication.

Leah Shepard is team editor. Contact her at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Leah Shepard, Team Editor
Leah is a fourth-year student with a double major in Journalism and Spanish. She also works as a staff editor at Kent State's literary magazine, Luna Negra. She is a Kent native and enjoys writing about social justice, history and politics.
Contact her at [email protected]

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