New trial set in Hargraves rape case

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Christopher L. Hargraves

GREENFIELD — A Hancock County man accused of rape has a new trial date for charges that hung a jury earlier this month.

Christopher L. Hargraves, 19, McCordsville, is due back in Hancock County Circuit Court later this winter after several of his charges resulted in a mistrial on Dec. 3.

Hargraves is accused of forcing a woman to have sex with him at gunpoint in September 2020. A jury determined he was guilty of two misdemeanor and one Level 6 felony gun and drug charges following a four-day trial. Jurors did not reach a decision on six other charges that remain pending against Hargraves, including two counts of Level 1 felony rape and other felony confinement and intimidation charges.

Hargraves was released from jail and placed on home detention earlier this week.

Judge Scott Sirk set a telephonic pre-trial conference for 1:30 p.m. Feb. 22 and a jury trial for 8:30 a.m. March 15.

Hargraves’ attorney, Jeffrey McClarnon, asked at Thursday’s status conference for an earlier pre-trial conference to discuss what he believes are issues with the case. Sirk advised him to file those issues ahead of the scheduled pre-trial conference.

If the case returns to trial for the pending charges, a new pool of jurors will be summoned to court, and a new panel will be sworn in to consider the evidence.

Aimee Herring, chief deputy prosecutor for Hancock County, represents the state in the case.

“As prosecutors, our goal is not to seek conviction, it is to administer justice, and the results of Mr. Hargraves’ prior trial did not result in a just outcome for either side,” Herring told the Daily Reporter in an email. “He has not been convicted or acquitted of the major felonies which he has been accused of that the jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision on after a relatively short period of deliberation, given that there were nine counts to deliberate on; these are still pending charges.”

She added that based on the probable cause affidavit in Hargraves’ case and evidence previously presented at trial, the state continues to believe there is sufficient evidence to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. She also noted he is presumed innocent unless and until he’s been convicted.