Delaware County

First Local COVID-Era Jury Trial Results In Conviction, Sentence

19 Jun , 2020  

Michael Singleton was sentenced to 20 years in prison for rape and abduction after being found guilty in Delaware County’s first jury trial since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Singleton was indicted after the victim reported she was sexual assaulted by him at her Delaware city residence.

“No means no.” said Delaware County Prosecutor Melissa Schiffel. “If you don’t have consent, you are committing rape. We will prosecute sexual assault cases vigorously to protect the sanctity of our bodies. Sexual abusers like this man belong in prison. I applaud the victim for coming forward and standing strong to confront her rapist in court, and also the efforts of the Delaware City Police Department and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners at Grady Hospital. Together, we are an unstoppable team for victims of sexual violence.”

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Singleton

A jury found Singleton guilty after the first trial to take place as the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas resumed in person trials. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and in adherence to state safety mandates, the court continued to hold hearings via video conferencing. Trials, however, were postponed, as they require jurors to appear in person.

“For this trial the court provided masks, face guards, safety markers for distancing, extra sanitation, and really anything possible to make those involved feel comfortable and safe in doing the important work of seeking justice in our community.” Schiffel said. “Measures such as these are important because crime doesn’t stop for anything. Victims have a right to be heard and to a speedy resolution of their case. During the stay at home order, our office saw the impact on victims who have been waiting for closure to this part of their healing.”

Singleton was sentenced to an indefinite term of 20 to 25 years in prison, with 20 years being the minimum he must serve before he is eligible to seek parole. As a result of his conviction, Singleton is classified as a Tier III sex offender, which requires him to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life with law enforcement.

Source: Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office

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