MIAMI COUNTY — Miami County Common Pleas Court visiting Judge William Wolff declared a mistrial in the jury trial against a Troy man accused of rape on Thursday morning.
Charles Hiser, 37, was indicted by a grand jury for one count of first-degree rape involving a victim 10 years old or younger, and seven counts of first-degree rape involving a victim less than 13 years old. The alleged assault occurred over the span of six years. The victim was known to Hiser.
Miami County Assistant Prosecutor Janna Parker, defense attorneys Stephen King and Steve Layman and Judge Wolff interviewed all 12 jurors and one alternate juror, all individually, about the media coverage about the case they may or may not have been exposed to during the trial. Defense counsel for Hiser made a motion to declare a mistrial following the interviews with the jury. Judge Wolff said upon the findings of the jury examination the court came to the conclusion Hiser no longer had a fair and impartial jury to deliberate the case.
Judge Wolff said a number of jurors violated jury instructions to abstain from media coverage in print, television and social media accounts.
Judge Wolff told jurors they were being dismissed because of one or more jurors were exposed to “out-of-court” coverage of the case and the jury was no longer fair and impartial. A new jury trial will be rescheduled.
Parker noted media accounts included Hiser’s current status as a Tier I registered sex offender. In 2013, Hiser was found guilty for failure to provide notice of residence changed as required by his Tier I sex offender classification. Hiser entered a plea of guilty to one count of third-degree misdemeanor sexual imposition from an offense in December 2007 in Piqua.
Hiser’s sex offender status was not included in the case presentation through a previous court motion.
Parker told the court that she regretfully could not argue with the defense’s motion for the mistrial in light of the jurors’ examination.
Judge Wolff denied the defense’s motion for a reduction of Hiser’s bond.
The alleged sexual acts took place at Hiser’s various residences including the Paris Court Trailer Park in Piqua, his mother’s home in Piqua and at his apartment in Troy. On Tuesday, the minor victim testified that Hiser would conduct the sexual acts late at night and had a code word to cease the conduct.
For the first count of the indictment, Hiser is facing up to 15 years to life or life without parole in prison and up to a $20,000 fine if convicted. For the remaining counts of the indictment, Hiser is facing up to 10 years to life in prison if convicted.
The Troy Police Department originally arrested Hiser in February, charging him with multiple counts of first-degree felony rape and seven counts of third-degree felony unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. The seven counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor were dismissed in Miami County Municipal Court.
Hiser is continuing to be held at the Miami County Jail on $50,000 bond.