Judge OKs change of venues in rape, infant death cases

Judge David Miller approved a change of venue to Carroll County Wednesday for Joshua Sterle Clevenger, a Corder man charged in the alleged July 27 rape of a minor in a Richmond apartment complex.

Danielle Rogers, the Ray County Prosecutor, had no objection to the request made by Public Defender Melinda Troeger, Clevenger’s lawyer.

The court originally transferred the case in its entirety to Carroll County, but revised the decision to keep preliminary court appearances in Ray County and move only a potential trial to Carroll County.

Clevenger’s next court appearance will take place at 8:30 a.m. March 6 in Ray County.

He is being held on a $100,000 cash-only bond.

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Dennis J. Matthews, a defendant charged with the abuse of a child resulting in its death, was also granted a venue change Wednesday.

Miller moved the case to Carroll County, but as in the Clevenger matter he agreed to hold hearings in Ray County until the case reaches the trial stage.

“Your honor, we request that everything prior to trial be taken up in Ray County for the convenience of all parties,” Rogers said.

Miller, who hears cases in both counties, had no objection. Neither did Troeger, Matthews’ public defender.

Matthews is scheduled to return to court in Ray County at 8:30 a.m. March 6.

Matthews, 25, and his wife Rebecca, 24, are charged in the death of their daughter, Aphril Diane Berniece Matthews, on or around Aug. 18, 2012, from blunt force trauma to the chest and abdomen.

The child initially was thought to have died from natural causes, but an autopsy revealed injuries that included fractured ribs “in various states of healing”. The death was ruled a result of blunt force trauma to the chest and abdomen.

The Matthews have said the injuries were the result of accidents involving the couple’s other young children.

Rebecca Matthews is also scheduled to return to court March 6, but with a different public defender.


– David Knopf/Richmond News

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