A man convcited of raping two Troy women was back in court Wednesday, as his attorneys asked for his guilty verdict to be overturned. They say his first trial in January was not fair because information had been withheld by the state.
Andre Ellis' attorneys say the prosecution should have given them documents, showing that one of the rape victims tentatively identified another man as her rapist in a photo lineup before identifying Ellis. The prosecution says that wouldn't have made a difference in the verdict.
Ellis smiled at family members after the hearing, as sheriff's deputies led him back to the Pike County Jail "We just want justice. Let the truth be the truth," he said
Ellis was sentenced to 85 years in prison for each rape count and an additional 20 years for a burglary count at his sentencing hearing in March. He was convicted of raping two Troy women at Hunter's Mountain Mobile Home Park last year. At Wednesday's hearing, his attorney argued important information had not been shared with the defense, as ordered by Judge Jeff Kelley.
According to court records, that includes a tentative identification one rape victim made of another man in a photo lineup before identifying Ellis. Ellis' attorney argued he should have been able to bring that up at the trial.
In court, Kelley said the prosecution had violated his discovery order by not turning over that documentation to the defense. He did not rule, though, on whether it will be enough to overturn the guilty verdict.
After the hearing, several of Ellis' family members spoke out, saying they want to see Ellis be granted a new trial.
"I just hope justice be done, I hope all the evidence will be, I just hope, everything will be presented at the trial, like it's supposed to be," said Raymond Anderson, Ellis' brother.
"I feel so much better today, because I had some restless nights and days. Yeah, we all have," said Robert Pickens, Ellis' father.
And Francine Ellis, Ellis' wife, said she was confident the court would grant a new trial for her husband. "I feel confident today as to what went on there today, I feel confident, but you know, we'll just have to wait and see," she said.
Judge Jeff Kelley has until May 27th to decide whether to overturn the jury's guilty verdict. That's 60 days after the original sentencing.