7/20/2019 7:30:00 AM Moren trial in doubt as defendant is still waiting for new attorney
By River News Staff
The September jury trial of a 22-year-old Rhinelander man charged with five felony counts related to an alleged physical and sexual assault of an elderly town of Pelican woman in June 2018 is in doubt as the defendant continues to wait for attorney to be appointed to represent him.
On July 10, 2018, Isaiah A.V. Moren was charged with first-degree reckless injury, first-degree sexual assault, strangulation and suffocation, aggravated battery, burglary of a building or dwelling, criminal damage to property, and misdemeanor bail jumping.
The alleged assault was reported June 10, 2018 but police did not make their investigation public until June 15 when a press release was issued asking for the public's help in identifying a suspect.
In a follow-up press release July 3, sheriff's captain Terri Hook announced DNA analysis had led to the identification of a suspect.
The case is set for a jury trial to begin Sept. 12, however Moren is still waiting for the state public defender's office to appoint a new attorney to represent him. Moren has been without an attorney since May 20 when public defender Mary Roth Burns withdrew from the case.
In court Tuesday for a pretrial conference, Oneida County district attorney Mike Schiek reported the public defender's office was still looking for a lawyer for Moren.
He also expressed concern about the possiblity of postponing the trial, noting that the alleged victim is 76 years old.
"I don't know what the court can do as far as expediting the process," he added.
After hearing from Schiek, Judge Patrick O'Melia set another status conference for Aug. 5 and noted that he would appoint an attorney for Moren if the public defender's office does not locate one by that time.
According to the complaint, the elderly woman's daughter told police she went to check on her mother during the afternoon of June 10 and found her bruised all over her body, including her face, arms and torso.
The daughter also observed a number of items in the residence were out of place and her mother's jewelry was laid out on her bed. The daughter also noticed blood on two items in the bedroom.
Investigators interviewed the alleged victim but she had difficulty communicating. According to the complaint, the woman has not been diagnosed with dementia or a related degenerative disorder, but she told police she suspects that she does suffer from such a condition.
According to the complaint, the woman was able to communicate that she had been in bed the night before when a man wearing a white shirt and white shorts came into her home and assaulted her. The man had "gotten on top of her" and "thrown her around," she said, adding that she ended up on the floor near the entrance to her room in a state of partial undress.
The woman said she was unsure what time the assault occurred and was unable to give investigators a clear description of the man, however she did submit to a medical examination that resulted in the subsequent DNA match.
According to the complaint, Moren was one of a number of people who were in the area of the woman's residence on the night in question who voluntarily gave police samples of the DNA. In an interview with police after the lab results were received, Moren said he spent the evening of June 9 and early morning of June 10 drinking at various local establishments and "mudding" with friends, and admitted that he stayed with a friend in a residence near where the alleged victim lives, but denied entering her residence or assaulting her.
Moren remains in the Oneida County jail in lieu of $500,000 cash. If convicted of all charges, he could spend the rest of his life in prison.
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