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Witness faints; mistrial declared
Mistrial declared after accuser faints on the witness stand.

Date published: 10/20/2010

BY KEITH EPPS

A trial for a man accused of rape came to an abrupt end yesterday when his accuser fainted on the witness stand.

Jermaine Lamont Reid, 28, of Virginia Beach is charged with rape, forcible sodomy and object sexual penetration in connection with a Feb. 27 incident in Spotsylvania County involving a former girlfriend.

A jury had been selected yesterday in Spotsylvania Circuit Court, and prosecutor Amy Harper and defense attorney Andy Cornick had given their opening statements when the woman took the stand.

Harper was playing the tape of the 911 call when the woman cried, screamed and fell out of her chair.

Medical personnel rushed to courtroom and tended to the woman, who declined to go to the hospital and said she was ready to continue with the trial.

But Judge David Beck granted Cornick's request for a mistrial, and a new trial is scheduled for Jan. 6. Cornick argued that the fainting scene was prejudicial against his client.

According to the evidence, Reid and the woman had dated for several years but were ending their relationship when Reid went to her home to get some belongings.

He spent the night on her couch, and he is accused of attacking her the next morning. Reid claims he did not sexually assault the woman and was simply trying to win her back.

Keith Epps: 540/374-5404
Email: kepps@freelancestar.com