SALT LAKE CITY -- (KSTU) -- Three men accused of raping a 9-year-old girl while her mother smoked meth in the garage of a Vernal home are on trial.
Jerry Flatlip, Randall Flatlip and Larson Rondeau are facing first-degree felony charges of rape of a child and sodomy on a child. The three men are accused of raping the girl on Easter Sunday in 2016. The girl’s mother told police she was smoking methamphetamine in the garage when the alleged assault took place. A fourth man was initially charged in the case, but he was later dropped.
Uintah County Attorney Mark Thomas told the jury that the girl was threatened with her life. She ultimately disclosed the alleged rape two days after the fact.
He acknowledged there was little DNA evidence, but their case against the men would be based on testimony.
“These young men are all innocent as they sit here today,” said Loni DeLand, Randall Flatlip’s attorney, in his opening statement. He argued to the jury that there wasn’t any physical evidence of a rape because none occurred.
The case has taken a long time to get to trial. It was moved from Vernal’s 8th District Court to Silver Summit because of concerns about a fair trial. Last year, a mistrial was declared because not enough people in the Park City area showed up for jury duty. (The judge later summoned all the no-show jurors to court to answer for it.)
Ultimately, the case was moved to Salt Lake City’s 3rd District Court.