Trials of firefighter charged with rape moved out of Millard County

Austin James Corry, 26, the assistant chief of the Kanosh Fire Department in Millard County, was charged Wednesday with two counts of rape and two counts of object rape, first-degree felonies; five counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony;

Austin James Corry | Utah County Jail

SALT LAKE CITY — Saying that it would be hard to seat an impartial jury from such a small community, a judge on Monday moved the trial of a former Kanosh assistant fire chief accused of rape out of Millard County.

Austin James Corry, 27, faces charges of rape in two separate cases. The charges were originally filed in Millard County’s 4th District Court.

But on Monday, both cases were transferred to 4th District Court in Utah County based on a motion filed by the state. The Juab County Sheriff’s Office is prosecuting the case.

“In a small county, there is always a concern, generally by a defendant, that finding jurors who are unacquainted with the matter and who, more importantly, can be fair and impartial will be difficult,” Judge Anthony Howell wrote in his decision.

While finding an impartial jury in Millard and Juab counties is a challenge in nearly every case, Howell wrote that Corry’s case is especially challenging due to several factors.

For one, Corry is well known in the community, according to the court order.

“Additionally, Mr. Corry comes from a well-known family here in Millard County,” the order notes.

Corry’s father, Scott Corry, 62, of Kanosh, was the fire chief in Kanosh and was with the Millard County Sheriff’s Office for about 35 years before retiring in October. He retired with the rank of sergeant.

The elder Corry was charged in July by the Utah Attorney General’s Office with obstructing justice, a second-degree felony, and official misconduct, a class B misdemeanor, for not reporting his son’s alleged crimes. He pleaded guilty in October to the misdemeanor charge, according to court documents, while taking a plea in abeyance for the felony. A six-month jail sentence was suspended.

Another reason for the change of venue is the size of Millard County, the judge noted.

“The communities here in Millard County are quite small. The court notes that the population is about 15,000 people in the county. Although that is a number where, if each individual county resident were talked to, the parties could certainly find enough people who had not heard about the case and who had not formed an opinion about the case. However, that is a small enough number that identifying jurors who could be impartial and who could make a decision based only on the evidence presented in court would be very difficult.”

Third, the seriousness of the charges and the possibility of being sentenced to up to life in prison if convicted is another reason the judge ordered the trial moved.

Finally, Howell noted that media coverage, particularly by the local newspaper, has created prejudicial publicity.

“There is a very active and robust fourth estate in Millard County and they have, as would be expected by reporters seeking to provide information, reported on this case throughout its pendency. Based on the three years this judge has sat in Millard County and his interactions with and knowledge of the community, the court is of …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


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