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Convicted rapist claims jury misconduct in Canton court

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CANTON — A convicted sex offender facing up to 15 years in prison asked for his conviction to be vacated Monday in St. Lawrence County Court claiming jury misconduct.

Dustin J. Davis, 29, Lisbon, was convicted by a jury Sept. 30 of second-degree sexual abuse, second-degree burglary as a sexually motivated crime, forcible touching and endangering the welfare of a child.

Through his attorney, Conflict Public Defender Amy L. Dona, Davis said a juror, Britney Trombly, Norwood, conspired with Davis’ ex-girlfriend to convict him.

Ms. Trombly is accused of talking with her aunt, Wendy Sharpe, Norwood, about the case during the trial and convicting Davis following a breakup with Ms. Sharpe.

In the hearing, key defense witness Christopher Young, Potsdam, said he had daily conversations during the trial with Ms. Sharpe about how her niece was going to put Davis in prison.

Ms. Trombly and Ms. Sharpe testified these conversations never happened. They said they only talked about the trial after it was over.

Prosecutors argued Mr. Young only came forward after he was arrested for harassing Ms. Sharpe. and he was just retaliating against her. But Mr. Young said it was because he needs to do the right thing.

Ms. Sharpe, described by her niece as a mother-figure, said her niece never knew who Davis was or about their relationship that occurred in early 2011 over an eight-week period. Ms. Sharpe also said she was not aware the trial was happening.

Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Becker and Ms. Dona will submit any additional written arguments by Friday. After reviewing the documents, Judge Jerome J. Richards is expected to issue a written ruling later next week.

If Judge Richards vacates the verdict, a second trial will be scheduled. If not, a sentencing date will be set for Davis’ conviction.

Davis was accused of breaking into a camper on County Route 14 in Rensselaer Falls on Aug. 3, 2010 and fondling his victim while she was alone. He pulled a blanket from her while she slept, shook her awake and commanded, “Show me,” the victim testified.

Davis was convicted in May 2006 of third-degree rape. He admitted having sex with a 15-year-old girl in August 2005 and was sentenced to prison for 1 1/2 to 3 years for violating probation.

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