A jury acquitted former Willard resident Howard R. Zerkle on all charges Thursday stemming from a sex-related incident involving an 18-year-old mentally impaired female.
The Huron County jurors found Zerkle, 81, “not guilty” of one count each of kidnapping, rape and sexual battery. Jurors deliberated for about 12 hours over two days.
After a series of texts starting Jan. 19 — beginning with the teenager possibly misdialing a contact on her cell phone, Zerkle reportedly picked up the teenager, who is now 19, from her Plymouth apartment Jan. 31. He drove her to Country Kitchen in Willard, where they ate eggs. Zerkle was accused of then taking the victim to the bedroom of his Crestwood Drive apartment and sexually violating her…
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