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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Prosecutor seeks to use evidence of prior conviction

  • A man's recent conviction of rape and kidnapping in Reno County could play a role in his pending Leavenworth case if a prosecution motion is granted.
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  • A man's recent conviction of rape and kidnapping in Reno County could play a role in his pending Leavenworth case if a prosecution motion is granted.
    Craig L. Gooch, 28, is charged in Leavenworth County District with with rape, kidnapping, aggravated assault and misdemeanor theft. These crimes are alleged to have occurred in November 2011 in Leavenworth.
    In January, he was found guilty in Reno County District Court of rape, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated robbery, aggravated burglary, aggravated sexual battery, aggravated intimidation of a victim, making a criminal threat, interference with a law enforcement officer and vehicle burglary.
    The crimes occurred in May 2012 in Hutchinson. At the time he was arrested last year in Hutchinson, Gooch already was facing the charges in Leavenworth County.
    He was sentenced last month in Reno County to more than 59 years in prison.
    Assistant Leavenworth County Attorney Michael Jones has filed a motion seeking to present evidence regarding the Reno County crimes in the case that's pending in Leavenworth County.
    "That would completely change the case," Gooch's attorney, Stephen Chapman, said Friday.
    His comments came as he appeared with his client in Leavenworth County District Court for a status hearing.
    He asked to continue the matter until April 19, and the judge granted the continuance.
    Chapman indicated there still are negotiations in the case.
    In his motion filed earlier this month, Jones argued the circumstances of the attack on the victim in the Leavenworth County case and the attack on the victim in the Reno County case "are strikingly similar."
    He also noted that the victim in the Reno County case testified her attacker told her he had done this type of thing before and got away with it.
    "Evidence of (the defendant's) acts in that instance is an important link in proving the elements of the crimes for which he is charged in the present case," Jones wrote in the motion.
    Gooch's Leavenworth County case is scheduled to go to trial May 13.

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