Jury: Man not guilty in Yellow Springs rape trial

The rape trial of a Yellow Springs man ended in an acquittal Wednesday after two and a half days of testimony in Greene County Common Pleas Court.

After deliberating for about three hours Wednesday afternoon, the jury found 29-year-old Jacob L. Pflanzer not guilty of four counts of rape and one count of gross sexual imposition. The charges stemmed from allegations leveled by one woman about a late-night encounter at a Yellow Springs home in April 2018.

The defense argued the sex was consensual between the defendant and the woman, who gave emotional testimony during the trial in Judge Stephen Wolaver’s courtroom.

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Pflanzer’s attorney, Adam Arnold, said his client was relieved when the verdict was announced, but the case will likely affect him for the rest of his life.

“At the end of the day, it’s a he said-she said case,” Arnold said. “I think a lot of the police investigation in the case was lacking, and I think at the end of the day the jury just had too many questions.”

Arnold noted problems with the investigation conducted by Yellow Springs Sgt. Naomi Watson, but said after the verdict that she’s “a good police officer.”

“I think that she was caring for the complaining witness in this case, and that might have blinded her from seeing some glaring issues and inconsistencies that were present in this case,” he said.

The state’s case included DNA samples, a sex assault nurse examination report, and a controlled call conducted with police surveillance between the defendant and the woman, who was 20 years old at the time of the allegations.

Greene County prosecutors David Morrison and Cheri Stout presented the evidence.

Morrison said that they are obviously disappointed in the outcome of the trial.

“It’s a big case for us, but we appreciate the jury’s verdict, we appreciate their effort and we accept that,” Morrison said.

When asked about whether the police investigation was flawed, Morrison said he would “disagree with that assessment.”

“It was a difficult case to begin with, and we did what we could with what we had to work with,” he said.

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Pflanzer spent time in jail and spent a lot of money in defending himself against the charges, Arnold said, adding that his client did what no one should ever do when crimes are alleged — talk to the police without an attorney present.

“He’s been going through this for over 18 months. His story has never changed since day one,” Arnold said. “I think that this is something that will impact him for the rest of his life, which is sad.”

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