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Retrial starts for man convicted in child-sex case

One of three men convicted in 2000 of having sex with a 13-year-old Medford girl at her mother's urging is headed back to trial.

Anthony Dewayne Smith, 38, returned to Jackson County in June for retrial on charges of rape, sodomy and endangering the welfare of a minor after the Oregon Court of Appeals reversed his conviction. Smith's three-day trial is set to open today in Jackson County Circuit Court.

Appellate judges in April found Judi Harper, a Jackson County deputy district attorney, erred on a technicality of Oregon law. She should have provided the required notice 15 days before trial of her intent to offer the victim's videotaped statement about the alleged crime, said Jackson County District Attorney Mark Huddleston.

The appellate court's written opinion stated judges could not establish that the error did not affect the trial verdict.

A 12-person jury found Smith, Lamar Esquire McKinzie and Johnny Lee Carter guilty of second-degree rape and other sex crimes in May 2000. Jurors heard testimony that the sex acts ' witnessed by the girl's mother and 11-year-old sister ' occurred at a party in her east Medford home where the men were drinking and smoking crack cocaine and methamphetamine.

— The mother, 44-year-old Lynda Darlene Hill, encouraged sex between the men and her daughter in exchange for drugs, Harper argued in the trial. Hill was found guilty of six felony sex crimes, including first-degree rape, and was sentenced to eight years and four months in prison.

Circuit Court Judge Patricia Crain originally ordered the three men to each spend six years and three months in prison. But the convictions for McKinzie, 36, and Carter, 45, also were reversed and their cases sent back for new trials. Both men pleaded guilty, however, in 2003 to charges of second-degree rape and were sent back to prison for three years and six months.

Smith faces additional charges of first-degree assault and strangulation and two counts of second-degree assault following an attack on a fellow inmate in the Jackson County Jail. Prosecutors allege that on July 18 Smith threw Don Paul Reis onto a table, choked him and slammed him against a wall.

Reis suffered a serious injury to his back and now has limited mobility, said Tim Barnack, deputy district attorney for Jackson County, adding that he believed the two men argued over the use of a telephone. The alleged assault took place in common living quarters that typically house about 10 inmates.

Smith pleaded not guilty to the charges Friday in Circuit Court. If convicted of the most serious crime in the jail assault, he would be subject to a mandatory prison term of 7&

189; years.

Reach reporter Sarah Lemon at 776-4487, or e-mail Retrial starts for man convicted in child-sex case "slemon@mailtribune.com.