Prosecutor: Willard lured 9-year-old victim

November 20, 2013
Dalton Willard

Dalton Willard

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

Editor’s note: The following story is about a rape trial involving a 9-year-old victim and a 19-year-old defendant. The information in this story may be graphic. Mason County Press does not identify the victims of sexual crimes, especially children. We further will not identify family members involved in this case. We will identify the geographical area, including street names where the alleged crime took place.

Be warned: Some of the information in this story may be graphic.

The immediate family members involved in this case are fully aware of the circumstances that have taken place and both parents of the victim have testified, as will be pointed out in the story.

If you are not comfortable reading about this type of subject, we would recommend that you read no further.

We believe the public has the right to know when someone commits a crime against another person. A courtroom is open to the public and anyone from the public may attend court proceedings, including a jury trial.

Assistant Prosecutor Glenn Jackson addresses the jury.

Assistant Prosecutor Glenn Jackson addresses the jury.

LUDINGTON — The 51st Circuit Court trial of a 19-year-old Manistee man began Wednesday afternoon, following a six hour jury selection process. Dalton Willard is accused of raping a 9-year-old boy on June 19, 2013.

The jury consists of 10 women and four men. Two of the jurors will be dismissed when it is time to deliberate.

During his opening statement, Mason County Assistant Prosecutor Glenn Jackson III described the events that took place on June 19, 2013. He said the 9-year-old victim was riding a golf cart on Hoague Road, just down the road from his LaSalle Road home, when he was flagged down by Dalton Willard. Jackson said Willard lured the 9-year-old boy into a house at 266 W. Hoage Road, by saying he needed the boy’s help in identifying a lost dog. Once in the house, Willard allegedly told the victim that he wanted to “see his parts.” The boy responded by stating his mother was calling on the phone and that he had to leave.

At that time, Jackson said, Willard blocked the victim from leaving and forced him into the basement where he raped him.

Willard is on trial for criminal sexual conduct first degree, which means that penetration was involved in the alleged crime. He is also charged with kidnapping. While he did not actually take the victim anywhere, kidnapping includes restraining another person against his will.

“The restraint does not have to exist for any particular length of time,” Judge Richard Cooper told the jury.

After the alleged rape took place, Jackson said the boy ran out of the home and got back on his golf cart and proceeded to drive it back to his family’s home, about ¾ of a mile away. While enroute, he called home, where his mother answered the phone.

The mother, during testimony, said she ran out of the house and proceeded to run down the road to retrieve her son. The father, her husband, not quite sure knowing what was going on, took off after her in the family vehicle, the father testified.

The father got to his son and put him in the family vehicle. They then proceeded to go to the house where the crime took place. During this time, the father called 911. As he pulled into the driveway of 266 W. Hoague Road, which is several hundred feet long, the 911 dispatcher advised him to return to his house and let law enforcement handle taking care of the alleged rapist.

Sheriff's Detective Mike Kenney testifies.

Sheriff’s Detective Mike Kenney testifies.

Both the mother and father testified that they did not think anyone was living in that house any longer. The mother identified the house as the former Willard house and she knew that Dalton Willard had lived there at one time. She said about an hour before the incident took place, she had passed Willard on the road while they were both in their respective vehicles.

Jackson told the jury that the victim will testify, on Thursday, that he had seen Willard a few times in the preceding weeks. According to Mason County Sheriff’s Detective Michael Kenney, Willard was found the next day at a home on Eighth Street in Manistee. Willard’s arraignment record shows that his address is 918 High Street in Manistee.

During his opening statement, Willard’s defense attorney, John Brakora of Manistee said that the boy may have mistaken Dalton Willard for his twin brother, Taylor. Brakora said the victim had seen Taylor a few weeks earlier not Dalton.

However, upon searching Dalton’s car the next day, police found an open package of condoms that matched the brand and box number of the condom wrapper that was found near the bed where the boy said the rape took place.

The victim’s mother said that she did not know the names of the Willard boys but knew the difference between the two. “One is shorter and a little chubbier and the other is taller and thinner,” she said. When asked by Jackson to identify which one she saw on the road that day, she pointed at Dalton.

The victim is expected to testify Thursday when the trial begins again at 9:30 a.m.

 

 

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