COA to hear oral arguments from man charged with rape 35 years after incident

A Lake County man charged with rape 35 years after the incident allegedly occurred will present oral arguments before the Court of Appeals of Indiana next week.

Joel Williams Jr., of Gary, was suspected of participating in a 1984 home invasion in Hobart that involved robbery and rape.

According to The Times of Northwest Indiana, Williams was one of three men accused of raping the victim and two other females at gunpoint. The suspects also stole valuables from the house and a 1975 Plymouth Roadrunner, The Times reported.

Two months after the incident, Williams was arrested by Gary police in two similar rapes. Gary police alerted Hobart law enforcement to the assaults, according to The Times.

Williams was sentenced to 15 years in prison for robbery and to 10 and 20 years in additional robbery cases in 1985, Indiana Department of Correction records show.

In 2018, testing was performed on one of the 1984 victim’s sexual assault kits and revealed a possible match to Williams. As a result, the state charged Williams with two counts of rape and two counts of criminal deviate conduct in 2019.

Williams, represented by Stracci Law Group P.C., moved to dismiss the charges, asserting a violation of his due process rights because of the delay, but the Lake Superior Court denied the motion.

The Court of Appeals of Indiana granted a petition for interlocutory appeal this past summer.

Oral arguments in Joel Williams, Jr. v. State of Indiana, 21A-CR-1581, are scheduled for 1:30 p.m. April 13.

The case will be argued in the COA courtroom on the fourth floor of the Indiana Statehouse. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the courtroom will be limited to the judges, court personnel and no more than two attorneys per arguing party.

The arguments will be livestreamed online and televised on a monitor directly outside the courtroom.

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