NEW PHILADELPHIA -- Accused of raping a 13-year-old girl, Daniel McComas decided to roll the dice with a trial before a jury of his peers in the Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court.
McComas opted to withdraw a negotiated plea that would have resulted in him serving 10 years to life in prison and opt for the trial, which meant he faced 25 years to life if convicted.
The gamble did not pay off for McComas, 18, Newcomerstown, when the jury last week convicted him of raping the girl who had been left in the care of his mother.
Judge Elizabeth Lehigh Thomakos imposed the 25-year to life sentence on him.
The sexual assault is alleged to have occurred on June 27, 2011.
After twice rejecting negotiated pleas, McComas reportedly plead guilty to a bill of information on Jan. 13 of this year, but later withdrew his plea. He has maintained his innocence throughout the 21 months leading up to the trial.
The victim reportedly said McComas had sex with her while his sister watched, but he denied the claim.
McComas had contended the girl offered a "sexual favor" in exchange for a cigarette and he declined, which he said was witnessed by his sister.
The first trial for McComas ended in a mistrial when his attorney, Dan Quinn, reportedly asked a Newcomerstown police officer if his client participated in a lie detector test. A lie detector test is inadmissible in court.
McComas was not subjected to a lie detector test.
Tuscarawas County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Amanda Miller advised the court the mention of a lie detector test could prejudice the jury. Thomakos agreed with the prosecutor after reviewing case law.
McComas' DNA was found inside underwear the prosecutor said belonged to the victim.