SALT LAKE CITY — A new trial and a bail hearing have been scheduled in Salt Lake City after a lack of jurors prompted a mistrial for three Vernal men accused of gang-raping a 9-year-old girl.
In a phone conference with 3rd District Judge Randall Skanchy on Thursday, an eight-day trial was scheduled to begin May 2 for Larson Rondeau, 38, Randall Flatlip, 27, and Jerry Flatlip, 31.
The men were due to face a trial in Park City last month, but when 36 potential jurors failed to appear for selection and a full jury could not be seated, a mistrial was declared.
Rather than try to find a new jury in the area, 3rd District Judge Edwin Peterson moved the case to Salt Lake City and later ordered the 36 no-show jurors to appear before him in court.
Peterson also noted in his decision that the three defendants have remained in jail since their April 2016 arrest, suggesting that the matter should be considered by whichever judge takes the case next. A bail hearing before Skanchy on Jan. 24 was also scheduled during Thursday's call.
The three men are accused of taking turns raping a 9-year-old girl while her mother did drugs in another room.5 comments on this story
In a video interview played in court during a preliminary hearing in Vernal in October 2016, the 9-year-old girl described how the men woke her on Easter Sunday as she was sleeping on a couch. From there, they took her to a back bedroom and held down her arms and legs while each sexually assaulted her, she said.
An 8th District Court judge in Vernal agreed to move the trial to Summit County after the men's attorneys argued that the extensive and impassioned public outcry by Uintah County residents against the three men in the case, combined with the area's small population, would make it impossible to seat an impartial jury.