Ex-Troy firefighter wants own trial in rape case

Jeff Covault, 48, pleaded not guilty to rape for alleged sexual conduct with a 21-old-woman March 2 in the parking lot of The Vault on North County Road 25A, Troy. His case is being heard in the Miami County Courthouse, shown here. STAFF PHOTO/TY GREENLEES
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Jeff Covault, 48, pleaded not guilty to rape for alleged sexual conduct with a 21-old-woman March 2 in the parking lot of The Vault on North County Road 25A, Troy. His case is being heard in the Miami County Courthouse, shown here. STAFF PHOTO/TY GREENLEES

TROY — The lawyer for a former Troy firefighter indicted along with a second Troy man on allegations of felony rape wants separate jury trials in the case.

Jeff Covault, 48, pleaded not guilty to rape for alleged sexual conduct with a 21-old-woman March 2 in the parking lot of The Vault on North County Road 25A, Troy.

Co-defendant Thomas Perkins Jr., 54, of Troy, also pleaded not guilty in Miami County Common Pleas Court during arraignments June 22.

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The indictment alleges the woman was impaired because of a mental or physical condition and the alleged perpetrators knew of that impairment.

Covault posted bail of $200,000 the day of arraignment, while Perkins remains jailed on the same amount.

Covault’s attorney, Andrew Pratt of Troy, has asked Judge Christopher Gee to sever, or order separate, trials for the two men.

In the motion, Pratt argues evidence available should be presented to juries in separate trials to make sure a jury does not consider evidence against one defendant as evidence against both.

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Gee will hold a hearing on the motion Tuesday. A trial for the men now is scheduled to begin Sept. 18.

Pratt also asks Gee to continue Covault’s trial because of scheduling conflicts and the amount of evidence, which he said includes “a lengthy video recording from a premises recording device.”

Covault worked as a Troy firefighter/paramedic from May 1996 until retirement April 1, according to city personnel records.

Those records show he reported to Fire Chief Matthew Simmons on March 2 that he was under investigation for alleged misconduct earlier that day. He was placed on paid administrative leave that day and then on unpaid suspension March 5 pending completion of the city investigation into the alleged misconduct.

Covault notified the chief of his retirement March 15.