Defendant Is Declared Innocent of Sex Charge

It took an eight-woman, four-man jury approximately 25 minutes to find Robert Thomas Hess not guilty of sexual battery Thursday afternoon in Jefferson County Common Pleas Court.

He was released from the Jefferson County jail after the verdict.

Hess was indicted in November 2012 on one count of sexual battery after he was arrested by Wintersville Police on Sept. 26, 2012, one day after he was accused of raping a homeless woman he met walking on Sunset Boulevard.

He has remained in the county jail for 22 months until his release.

“Mr. Hess maintained his innocence since the beginning. He was very happy the jury confirmed his innocence of all allegations. He did not commit the crime which he was charged with and is now a free man,” said defense attorney Steven Stickles, who was appointed to represent Hess.

Stickles said Hess spent approximately one year of the 22 months in jail on a contempt charge because he refused to submit a DNA sample to investigators.

Jefferson County Assistant Prosecutor Edward Littlejohn Jr. called nine witnesses for the prosecution, including the alleged victim, before he rested his case at 2:20 p.m.

Stickles had no witnesses for the defense and the jury was sent into deliberations at 3:35 p.m. and returned with the not guilty verdict at 4:05 p.m.