Motions hearing in Greene County teen rape case

GREENE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A Greene County teenager charged with rape was in court Tuesday morning for a motions hearing that featured the unusual sight of a Commonwealth’s Attorney testifying as a witness.

Sixteen-year-old Matthew Jones is accused of raping another Greene County teenager back in February. He's being charged as an adult, and his attorney had filed a motion asking for the indictment to be thrown out.

The motion claimed that Greene County Commonwealth's Attorney Matthew Hardin had inappropriately influenced the grand jury to indict Jones in June.

Greene County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Tooley testified that he had a troubling exchange with Hardin outside of the grand jury room.

He said Hardin seemed disturbed that the grand jury might not indict Jones after the Tooley’s testimony. Tooley said after the two men spoke, Hardin then went back into the grand jury room before the grand jury issued the indictment against Jones.

Hardin took the stand as a witness and testified that he had done nothing improper in the grand jury room.

Judge Claude Worrell ruled that there was no evidence that Hardin behaved improperly. He denied the motion and said the case would go forward with Hardin as the prosecutor.

After the hearing, Jones' attorney Lloyd Snook said that despite his concerns about Hardin’s behavior, he believes Jones will get a fair trial.

"I'm not worried about that,” Snook said. “We'll have a fair trial regardless. We have a good judge, and the good people of Greene county will let us know."

Hardin said the Commonwealth is also looking forward to a fair trial.

Jones has been on house arrest since the indictment. His trial is set to begin on Jan. 27.

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