A Baton Rouge state judge rejected a convicted child rapist's request for a new trial Thursday but allowed him to continue to remain free on bail until she sentences him Aug. 9 to a mandatory term of life behind bars.
Earl Coleman, 49, was found guilty in April of the aggravated rape of an 8-year-old girl in 2012. Following his conviction, District Judge Trudy White set a $10,000 post-conviction bail for Coleman so he could be with his seriously ill mother.
A 49-year-old Baton Rouge man facing a mandatory life prison term following his conviction l…
On Thursday, after White denied Coleman's motion for a new trial, East Baton Rouge Parish Assistant District Attorney Leslie Ricard Chambers asked White to reconsider her post-conviction bail decision. The judge denied that request.
Coleman, who lives around the corner from the victim and her mother, is being electronically monitored by an ankle bracelet.
"It's hurtful," the woman, with her daughter at her side, said outside White's courtroom after the judge refused to reconsider Coleman's bail.
The woman, though, took comfort in the judge's refusal to grant Coleman another trial.
"It's been a long journey. I'm glad it's nearing the end," she said.
After denying his new trial request, White set Coleman's sentencing for Sept. 14. But Chambers balked and asked for a date "much sooner" than that. The judge then set the Aug. 9 date.
Coleman's attorneys, Robby Gill and Yigal Bander, urged White on Thursday to act as the "13th juror" and grant Coleman a new trial. They argued there is ample grounds for reasonable doubt in the case to warrant a new trial.
Gill argued there is no medical evidence to support the girl's rape claim.
"They can't run and hide from the medical records," he told the judge.
But Chambers said the jury found the victim, now 13, credible in her testimony. The panel voted 11-1 to find Coleman guilty.
"It is not the judge's job at this point to say the jury was wrong," Chambers argued. "It's called (jury) deliberation for a reason. They sat in there for hours."
At one point in the hearing, Bander told White, "We've sent enough black people to prison for crimes they didn't do." He then stated he wasn't saying that is what happened in the Coleman case.