Taxpayers are expected to be footing the bill for airline tickets to fly in two defense witnesses now in foreign countries, who will testify in a rape trial early next year.
Christian Black, 22, of Indianapolis, was indicted on May 16, 2016, for first-degree rape in connection to an April 10, 2016, incident.
Williamsburg Police Chief Wayne Bird said that the assault allegedly took place at a cabin at Cumberland Falls State Park sometime after 1 a.m. and was reported to Williamsburg police the following day.
“It is our understanding that several younger adults were down there having a get together or a party at a cabin in the park that is when it allegedly occurred,” Bird said. “At this point we know there was alcohol involvement.”
Black and the victim, who were both students at the University of the Cumberlands, were acquainted with one another, Bird said.
Black’s attorney, Ronald Bowling, told Whitley Circuit Judge Dan Ballou on Monday that his client had already been found to be indigent and there are two eyewitnesses in Brazil and the Bahamas, who would have to fly here and needed reimbursement for travel expenses.
“It is going to be a substantial cost to get these gentlemen here,” Bowling noted. “I don’t have any joy in costing taxpayers money.”
Both men are playing professional basketball overseas. It’s possible the two men may testify by Skype if their schedules won’t permit them to travel to Whitley County.
Someone found to be indigent is entitled to have a government-paid attorney provided in a criminal case and sometimes for funds to hire expert witnesses and so forth due to their financial condition.
Ballou said that he wanted to make sure that the trial would actually take place before agreeing to this. After speaking with attorneys for both sides, Ballou said that this would be the only case scheduled for trial on Jan. 8, and agreed to reschedule any other trials also set for that date.
It is common procedure to have multiple cases set for trial on a given day with most of the cases either getting settled or postponed for various reasons.
Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Graham Trimble noted that the government plans to call three witnesses and Bowling said the defense plans to call six witnesses during the trial.