ELKINS - Jury selection for the trial of an Elkins man accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl at the Elkins City Park in 2012 took place Wednesday in Randolph County Circuit Court.
Paul Grant Himes, Jr., 29, was indicted on two felony counts of sexual assault in the third degree and one felony count of conspiracy on Feb. 25, 2013. The trial is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. today.
Of the roughly 50 potential jurors that were called to attend Wednesday, 20 were initially selected along with three possible alternates.
Senior Status Judge Thomas Steptoe, Randolph County assistant prosecutor Richard Shryock and Himes' defense counsel, Dwight Hall, then asked the group questions to determine if there were any reasons potential jurors should be disqualified.
Through the process of questioning, two individuals were struck from the panel - one who had known the defendant from a previous experience and another who previously served as a law enforcement agent in the community.
Following the questioning of the potential jurors, both the state and the defense were given the opportunity to strike possible jurors until only 12
remained, along with one
According to the criminal complaint, Cpl. C.D. Cross of the Elkins Police Department spoke on March 23, 2012, with a woman whose 15-year-old daughter had apparently run away from her home in Elkins.
The girl returned home on March 26, 2012 and was examined by a sexual assault nurse at Davis Memorial Hospital, according to the police report.
The girl allegedly told authorities she had gone to a party on the evening of March 23, 2012, where she drank alcohol, and then went to the City Park with a female friend. She began to play basketball at the park with two men, and stayed there after her friend left for home, according to the complaint.
After playing basketball, one of the men - whom she knew as "Paul" - took her behind the tennis courts in the park, she told authorities. The man forced her to perform oral sex and intercourse, according to the report.
She said the first man then called the second man over, who also made her perform sexual acts. The girl said she did not tell the men "no" because "she was afraid that they would hurt her," the complaint states.
Afterward, the men walked her to a nearby convenience store and bought her a soda, she told authorities. She left their company with a friend with whom she spent the next several days, according to the report.
On March 30, 2012, the girl identified Himes in a photo lineup, police said.
The girl's mother allegedly told authorities she had noticed Himes staring at her daughter while she performed with her twirlette group in the summer of 2011. The mother said she saw Himes touch her daughter at a pageant, and later told him to stay away from the girl, the complaint states.
Himes told police he did play ball with the girl and bought her a soda, but stated he did not touch her or go behind the tennis courts with her, according to the complaint.