Mistrial almost called in trial of restaurant owner

By PAT BAILEY

HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - The trial of Isidoro Marra almost ended just as fast as it had begun on Tuesday, after the defense brought up questions about the alleged victim's past that were not supposed to be used in the trial.

During the end of the day on Tuesday, Herkimer County Assistant District Attorney Jeff Carpenter said he "could easily ask for a mistrial," and Herkimer County Judge Patrick Kirk said he would grant him one if he officially asked.

Carpenter, however, said that starting over would put more stress on the alleged victim.

Instead, the trial was adjourned until Thursday.

The dispute was over the prior sexual history of the alleged victim. When Mara's attorney, George Aney, asked about it, D.A. Carpenter jumped up and shouted "objection." Visibly upset, Carpenter asked for the jury to leave the room so the matter could be discussed with the judge.

After the jury left, Carpenter said it was agreed that prior sexual history was not admissible in this trial. The judge agreed, and called the jury back in to let them know the question was struck from testimony.

Marra is alleged to have raped a woman who fell asleep on the couch at the bed and breakfast portion of his Richfield Springs business - Villa Isidoro.

According to the prosecution, the victim came into Villa Isidoro in September 2009, with her boyfriend for dinner. Prosecutors allege that the victim then fell asleep on a couch, and was left overnight by the boyfriend, who did not stay. The prosecution claims the victim did not awaken until she was being raped by Marra.

The alleged victim testified on Tuesday that after two and a half glasses of wine, she became ill and was put to sleep on the couch. She said that after waking up to Marra raping her, she screamed so loud that her boyfriend's mother, who runs the bed and breakfast, woke up from sleeping upstairs.

The mother, the alleged victim and Marra then all drove to the house of the victim's boyfriend, she testified Tuesday.

The prosecution says the alleged victim was passed out and helpless. The defense tried to prove Tuesday she was not drunk or drugged.

After a one day hiatus, the trial will resume Thursday.

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