Alva man accused of child rape

An Alva man has been charged with rape of an underage girl in Woods County. The alleged rape took place in June 2017 when the man was 19 and the girl was 12.

Jacoby William Merrill, 20, of Alva has been charged with rape – first degree, a felony carrying a penalty of not less than five years. He has also been charged with felony lewd molestation with a penalty of imprisonment for up to three to 20 years. The charges were filed on Feb. 15.

Court records show the investigation began on Feb. 9 when District Attorney's Investigator Steve Tanio was contacted by a counselor about a child sexual abuse disclosure. He made arrangements to interview the child, age 12, who said she was sexually assaulted by Merrill in a residence in Alva. She said she was at her friend's house. Her friend and her friend's older sister left the residence to get a drink and the child did not want to go. While she waited for their return, the child said Merrill stopped by the residence. She knew he was the boyfriend of her friend's older sister.

She said once Merrill was inside the residence, he began kissing her and then put his hands on her breasts and vaginal area. She said he removed all his clothes and started removing hers. She said she was "terrified." She told Tanio Merrill then began removing her clothes and underwear. She said she "started screaming no but he didn't listen." She said he proceeded to have intercourse with her. After a few minutes they heard a car pulling into the driveway. She said he stopped, dressed and told her to get dressed which she did.

The child told Tanio she was afraid to tell because Merrill was the boyfriend of her friend's older sister. She said after the incident, she received text messages from Merrill on her cell phone. She told Tanio she was also aware that Merrill had been "sexting" with her friend with images being sent back and forth.

Investigator Tanio interviewed the mother of the child who said she had been informed of her daughter's abuse disclosure in late January 2018. She said she had communicated with her daughter's 15 year old friend. The friend admitted she had also engaged in sex with Merrill but it was consensual. The mother provided screenshots of the messages between herself and her daughter's friend. The messages stated in part "...I could've said no and he would've stopped...It was before he was 18 and more than 3 years ago."

Tanio spoke to the child's friend who said she knew Merrill as her older sister's boyfriend. She said when she was 13 and Merrill was 18, they had "messed around together" in her bedroom while her sister was upstairs. She said he had only kissed her on the mouth.

Alva Police Officer Ron Vasquez notified Tanio that he had located Merrill at a residence in Alva. Vasquez told Tanio he talked to Merrill who said "I know what this is about." When Tanio arrived, he attempted to conduct a post-Miranda videotaped interview; however, Merrill said he would not say anything until he got an attorney. Tanio placed him under arrest and took him to the Woods County Jail.


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