Judge: Middletown man’s statements to police will be part of trial on charges of rape involving a minor

Attorneys for a Middletown man accused of sexually assaulting a girl for years while he was living in a neighboring city wanted statements he made to police thrown out at trial, but a judge overruled that motion Thursday.

William L. Powell, 69, of the 1300 block of Oxford State Road, was arrested Sept. 20 and later indicted by a Butler County grand jury for three counts of rape, gross sexual imposition, two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor and contributing to the unruliness or delinquency of a minor.

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The alleged victim reported sexual abuse beginning at age 10 and continuing until she was 18. The woman is now an adult.

Powell is free after posting a $405,000 bond in September. Trial is set to begin June 18.

Trenton Detective Sean Gill testified during the suppression hearing in Butler County Common Pleas Court that the alleged victim and her mother had reported the abuse to another officer and returned to the Trenton police station on Sept. 18 for an interview with him. A controlled call was placed by the mother to Powell with Gill recording the conversation.

After that recorded conversation, Gill told the woman if Powell called again to also attempt to record that conversation, the detective said during testimony.

Details of what was said in those conversations were not part of Thursday’s hearing, but Gill testified the mother and daughter sought a protection order against Powell because of the threats he made.

When Butler County Sheriff’s Deputy William Smallwood made arrangements to serve Powell with the protection order at Kroger on Oxford State Road on Sept. 20, Gill was also there to pick up Powell so that he could be questioned.

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Defense attorney Michael Brush asked Gill if he had already decided that he was going to arrest Powell.

Gill said “it was highly likely I was going to arrest him that day based on the threats to the victim.”

Powell was transported to the Trenton Police Department, where Gill said he read him his Miranda rights from a card.

“He said he wanted an attorney,” Gill said.

That is when the detective said he told Powell he was going to be booked into the Middletown jail.

“Then he (Powell) said he wanted to talk to me,” Gill said. “And I handed him the Miranda card and he signed it.”

Gill said the conversation only continued for a few more minutes until Powell said he wanted his attorney and there was no further conversation.

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The interview, including the rights reading by Gill, was recorded, the detective said. But he has since learned that the video was not downloaded and no longer exists.

Brush asked the detective if Powell requested an attorney before he read the rights card. Gill said no.

“We have no proof one way or another, video doesn’t exist,” Brush said.

Butler County Assistant Prosecutor Kelly Heile said she is not sure if the defense believes the detective is not being truthful, but if that were the case, it would make more sense for him to say Powell never asked for an attorney at all. Heile also pointed out Powell signed he Miranda card.

Judge Greg Stephens agreed with the prosecution and noted that even if Powell asked for an attorney before his rights were read, Gill still followed through with the reading and no statements were made in between.

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