Elmore County rape suspect stands trial on unrelated offense - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Elmore County rape suspect stands trial on unrelated offense

Chase Hughes speaks with his attorney during Tuesday's bench trial. (Source: WSFA 12 News) Chase Hughes speaks with his attorney during Tuesday's bench trial. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
ELMORE COUNTY, AL (WSFA) -

There’s a tangled web of complex cases surrounding defendant Chase Hughes. He’s indicted in Elmore County for a 2015 rape and burglary case, and there are also charges in Elmore County and the City of Montgomery on unrelated harassing communication, which are misdemeanor offenses. 

Tuesday, Elmore County District Judge Glen Goggans presided over a bench trial for Hughes’ 2017 harassing communication charge, a Class C misdemeanor.

Chief Deputy District Attorney C.J. Robinson put on two witnesses in the bench trial, the victim and Investigator Bill Wilson. The defense, led by Susan James, cross-examined the state’s witnesses. 

While the case isn't related to the rape and burglary indictment, Robinson acknowledged it's difficult for the various cases not to overlap.

"It’s hard to keep that separate," Robinson admitted. "We think this case is important, this is the same pattern he’d followed many times where there’s a dating relationship and things sour, and he threatens them. We feel this one stopped before it progressed to where someone’s life was really in danger. "

The victim testified she and Hughes were in a serious relationship for around nine months and it ended after Hughes was arrested and charged with rape and burglary on Sept. 11, 2016. 

The victim stated she and Hughes remained in contact after he was sent to jail. When he made bond the first time, she said Hughes called and text her incessantly from upwards of eight different phone numbers. She stated he would be nice, and then the tenor of the conversations would take an ugly turn with name calling. The victim said she blocked multiple numbers and asked Hughes to stop contacting her, but she admitted she never felt she was in physical danger. 

The defense revealed in cross-examination the victim did send affectionate messages to Hughes through his mother and came to see him after he made bond, spending an hour alone together in Hughes' room at his father’s house.

After asking Hughes to stop communicating with her, the victim filed a harassing communication charge in early 2017. Wilson testified that he was contacted by the victim to discuss filing a charge against Hughes and he told her "if she felt like she was being harassed, that was a step she needed to take".

"If any of that was true or if all that was true, it doesn’t negate a crime occurred," Robinson said of the ongoing contact between the victim and Hughes after his arrest. "Chase Hughes still committed the crime of domestic violence, that’s what today was about - and that’s what he’s convicted of. "

Judge Goggans found Hughes guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and sentenced him to six months in jail with two years probation. He'll also have to attend anger management classes and pay $250 fine and a $1,500 appeal bond. 

Hughes’ bond is currently revoked on the Elmore County Circuit Court rape and burglary case. However, he’s been held in the Montgomery City Jail since his arrest in April.

Robinson says his focus now shifts to Hughes rape and burglary trial slated for later this year.

"We are ready for the truth to come out, and justice to be served," Robinson said. "It’s going to be a good day for the DA’s office, a good day for the victim, and a day I think [Hughes] will regret."

There's no word on whether the defense will appeal Tuesday’s bench verdict.

Copyright 2017 WSFA 12 News. All Rights Reserved.

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