A theme of sexual violence and treating women as objects links six cases filed against Jacob C. Ewing, a special prosecutor says in a request to combine the trials.
Jacqie Spradling, appointed special prosecutor for Jackson County in the cases, raised concerns double jeopardy rules may impact remaining cases after the first trial. Double jeopardy standards in Kansas prevent prosecution of subsequent cases if those cases are used as evidence in the first case. There is “no doubt” evidence from other cases “can and should be used in the first trial,” Spradling said in her motion.
“Each charge against the defendant is based on an allegation of sexual violence, and each case displays a societal amoral treatment of women as sexual objects,” Spradling wrote.
Discussion of pending cases or related evidence during the first trial, scheduled for late March, would result in those cases being barred from prosecution, and such a result would be an “injustice” for other potential victims, she argued in filings made last week, which The Topeka Captial-Journal obtained Monday.
“It would be far more just and fair for the court to grant the state’s request for a single trial to avoid the injustice that will result if the state is required to have an individual trial at the first setting and is then barred from further prosecuting the remaining cases,” Spradling wrote.
The motion also argued that because the charges involve similar acts, state law allows them to be combined under a single complaint. The charges also require the same mode of trial and many of the same witnesses, the filing said.
Spradling first filed a motion, which remains under seal, to consolidate on Feb. 14. The court ruled against combining trials then, according to the second. In doing so the court found that “just because the court can do something doesn’t mean it should.”
Ewing, 22, faces sex crime charges from five women and a girl, who was 13 years old at the time of the alleged crime. The first trial, involving the underage girl, is set to begin March 27. Trials for the five women continue through October.
As of Monday, a judge hadn’t issued a decision on Spradling’s motion. A motion hearing originally scheduled for Friday has been rescheduled for March 15.