A Hillsboro man who was indicted this week on two counts of rape and was set for trial next week has a new trial date after he waived his right to a speedy trial on Wednesday in Highland County Common Pleas Court.
Vernon Barstal Ellison Jr., 44, was indicted Tuesday on the two first-degree felony rape charges, and on 15 counts of fourth-degree felony pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor.
He has been in jail since December, and that is when his speedy trial time clock began ticking. Since he has remained incarcerated, the state had 90 days to bring him to trial. That time would have run out mid-March.
Ellison was set to face a jury on March 10, but he signed a waiver of time on Wednesday. The new jury trial date is now April 11.
The defendant was also arraigned on Wednesday, the hearing presided over by magistrate Cindy Williams.
Ellison’s bond was set at $500,000. Williams said that if Ellison made bond he would be under pretrial supervision and on house arrest, and he is to have no contact with the victim.
As previously reported by The Times-Gazette, Ellison was arrested in December and charged with first-degree felony rape, a charge stemming from allegations of years-long sexual abuse brought to the Highland County Sheriff’s Office in early December.
According to an affidavit filed with the Hillsboro Municipal Court in December, the alleged victim told a detective at the sheriff’s office that sexual abuse began when the victim was a young child and that the abuse continued for years.
He was arrested in December following a recorded meeting between himself and the victim wherein Ellison allegedly did not deny the sexual abuse claims the victim confronted him with, but was apologetic and offered excuses, according to the affidavit.
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.