March 13, 2014

Man accused of rape found not guilty

Rachel Brown

— A Dalton man accused of raping a woman almost two-and-a-half years ago was found not guilty Thursday by a jury in Whitfield County Superior Court.

Raymundo Hurtado-Lazarin was 31 when he was charged by the Dalton Police Department almost a year ago, and a grand jury indicted him on charges of rape, two counts of aggravated sexual battery, two counts of aggravated sodomy and false imprisonment.

Defense attorney Jerry Moncus said he and Hurtado-Lazarin are “extremely pleased with the verdict.”

“My client has always indicated his innocence and had always said he was in fact an innocent man,” Moncus said. “Now that’s been determined to be the truth.”

The jury met in Judge David Blevins’ courtroom beginning Monday and concluded with a verdict Thursday afternoon.

Moncus said Hurtado-Lazarin admitted to having a sexual encounter with the woman, but he said it was consensual. Moncus said Hurtado-Lazarin testified during the trial in his own defense. Moncus said there was ample “photographic evidence” that didn’t match up with statements from the woman who made the rape accusation.

District Attorney Bert Poston didn’t immediately respond to a message seeking comment late Thursday.