Judge orders new trial in sexual battery case

A Douglas County judge has ordered a 28-year-old man who has served five years in prison for a sexual battery conviction should get a new trial based on new evidence in the case.

According to court records, District Judge Robert Fairchild granted Jason Ellison’s motion for a new trial last week after he heard evidence at a hearing last week and earlier this month.

A jury in November 2006 convicted Ellison of aggravated sexual battery and acquitted him of attempted aggravated criminal sodomy after a sister of Ellison’s former girlfriend in July 2006 accused him of attempting to molest her twice in Lawrence. Fairchild sentenced Ellison to serve 22 years in prison based on his criminal history. A Kansas Court of Appeals panel earlier upheld the conviction.

But Ellison and his attorney, Napoleon Crews, argued that several people since the trial said they heard the woman say her allegations about him were not true. The allegations from the witnesses came as part of an investigation by student interns at the Kansas University School of Law’s Paul E. Wilson Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies.

Douglas County prosecutors had argued the witnesses Ellison was relying on were biased and that the evidence did not meet the legal standard for a new trial.

District Attorney Charles Branson said Friday his office would review Fairchild’s decision, attempt to meet with the victim and then decide on a course of action.