Guilty verdict in rape case challenged

Dale William Baldwin

FRONT ROYAL – The sentencing of a Front Royal man convicted of rape was postponed Thursday to give the defense attorney time to read a lengthy pre-sentence report on his client.

Circuit Judge Dennis L. Hupp found Dale William Baldwin guilty during a bench trial in early July.

The victim testified at the trial that Baldwin raped her at the defendant’s house on June 10, 2013.

Hupp rescheduled the sentencing for 10 a.m. Oct. 6 after defense attorney Eric Wiseley said he had only recently received the pre-sentence investigation into Baldwin and needed time to digest its findings.

“Your honor, this is the longest PSR I’ve received in my career,” Wiseley said, using the acronym for pre-sentence report.

Wiseley also made a motion to have Hupp rescind his finding of guilt against Baldwin.

Wiseley based his motion on the question of whether Hupp fully remembered testimony given by defense witnesses at a hearing conducted months before the bench trial. Those witnesses did not testify at the bench trial, but Wiseley said their earlier statements were crucial to Baldwin’s defense.

Hupp, Wiseley and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Layton agreed to have the court stenographer draw up a transcript of a portion of the trial. The transcript is expected to clarify what Hupp said about his recollection of the witnesses’ testimony at the earlier hearing.

Layton said Baldwin received a fair trial and urged Hupp to reject Wiseley’s motion.

“Your honor, the issue is whether the verdict in this case should be disturbed,” Layton said. “The commonwealth maintains it should not.”

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com