Trial to begin for man accused of raping toddler

September 13, 2010 10:37:16 AM PDT
The trial starts for the man charged with repeatedly raping four-year-old Emma Thompson. Jury selection for Lucas Coe comes two months after a jury found his ex-girlfriend Emma's mother, guilty of failing to protect her child from Coe. Lucas Coe is charged with the aggravated sexual assault of a child. Prosecutors say Coe physically and sexually abused Emma, who died from her injuries last year.

The nature of Emma's injuries will make it difficult for the jury to hear testimony. Emma died in June 2009 of multiple injuries. They included more than 80 bruises, a skull fracture, a lacerated pancreas and genital injuries. When paramedics began working on Emma, she was already unconscious.

Emma's mother, Abigail Young, was convicted of injury to a child by omission after a jury found she did nothing to prevent Coe from hurting little Emma. Young is serving a 20 year sentence.

Prosecutors believe they have a strong case against him, but Coe's attorneys argue there isn't sufficient evidence to link him to this crime.

"The pictures are disturbing. The facts are disturbing," said prosecutor Colleen Barnett. "To think that a little girl who was just barely four, she was three, was sexually assaulted, and is just difficult for people to understand and comprehend and to think that that really happens. So I just want the jury to pay careful attention to the evidence."

Defense attorney William Van Buren said, "Don't get me wrong, the death was tragic. But certainly we don't believe there is any direct evidence that links our client to sexually assaulting this girl by any means."

Because of Emma's young age, the charge is super aggravated, meaning that if he's convicted, Coe would serve whatever sentence he receives without parole. If convicted he could get 25 years to life in prison.


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