Vernal gang rape trial that ended in mistrial to be moved to Salt Lake City
VERNAL, Utah – The trial of three men accused of raping a nine-year-old Vernal girl will be moved to Salt Lake City.
It’s the second change of venue in the trial of Larsen James RonDeau, 36; Jerry Flatlip, 29; and Randall Flatlip, 26.
They’re accused of raping the young girl on a couch in a Vernal home on March 27, 2016 which was Easter Sunday. The girl’s mother told investigators she had gone into the garage for 30 minutes to smoke methamphetamine when the assaults took place.
Each suspect faces first-degree felony charges of rape of a child and sodomy of a child. 20-year-old Josiah RonDeau was also at the home and arrested, but charges against him were later dropped. That’s because court officials could not find the girl’s mother to identify him, according to court documents.
Early on, it was determined a fair trial would be hard to get in Uintah County, so it was moved to the Silver Summit Courthouse in Summit County.
But on Dec. 13, a mistrial was declared due to a lack or jurors. Utah State Courts spokesman, Geoff Fattah, said that of 120 Summit County residents called for jury duty, 24 were excused, and of the remaining 96 jurors, 36 failed to show up.
Now, the Vernal judge has ordered the trial to be moved to Salt Lake City where attorneys for both sides are confident they’ll have a sufficient pool of jurors from which to choose.