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Jackson County, Kansas, seeks repayment from special prosecutor in rape case

Posted at 2:52 PM, May 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-31 15:52:44-04

TOPEKA, Kan. — Jackson County, Kansas, officials are seeking to recoup about $80,000 is public money paid to a special prosecutor accused of mishandling a controversial a case where a man's rape convictions were overturned on appeal.

The county hired Jacqie Spradling in 2017 to serve as special prosecutor in the criminal case against Jacob Ewing, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. Later that year, Ewing was convicted of two counts of rape and four counts of criminal sodomy, among other counts.

But the Kansas Court of Appeals threw out those convictions in 2019 and ordered a new trial, finding that Spradling made a half-dozen errors and misled the jury by making assertions during her closing argument that were not supported by the evidence.

The charges against Ewing, a former state football champion and member of a well-known local family, divided Holton, a town of about 3,300 residents. Earlier this year, Ewing pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated sexual battery in a plea deal in which both sides agreed Ewing would be sentenced on June 18 to 10 years in prison.

Spradling didn't respond Friday to requests for comment made by the Capital-Journal.

Jackson County, Kansas, Commissioner Dan Brenner said the county was asked to pay for hiring Spradling in the case, and the commission wants to see if there was a breach of that contract.

"Possibly there is malpractice, misrepresentation or both," Brenner said. If that is the case, we believe the citizens of Jackson County should get their money back."