17 Feb 2017 04:57 AM EST
Roger Largent will never get a chance to clear his name in the rape of a disabled woman: He was found beaten to death in his prison cell four days before a court tossed his conviction. Authorities suspect Largent’s cellmate in the slaying, but they have not cited a motive or filed charges in the Saturday attack. On Wednesday, a Maryland appeals court threw out Largent’s conviction and said he should get a new trial because the jury verdict last year hinged largely on a prosecution witness’ improper testimony.
The assault happened in 2015 when Largent went to the mentally disabled woman’s house to give her and her blind husband a ride to a doctor’s appointment. The woman testified at trial that Largent walked up behind her, covered her mouth, pulled down her pants and raped her in the kitchen while her husband was upstairs. In a videotaped interview with police, Largent initially denied having sex with the woman, a family member in her late 40s. When a detective told Largent that his DNA was found on the woman, Largent said it was consensual sex and that “she came on to me first.”The officer later acknowledged that his statement during the interrogation about DNA was not true. The Supreme Court has given police leeway to lie to suspects during questioning.At trial, assistant public defender Amy Taylor suggested that the woman made the rape allegation because she felt guilty about being unfaithful. Taylor noted that the accuser did not have any bruises or scratches.
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