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Court denies re-trial for former OU student

A former Ohio University student could spend three years in prison, after an appeal court denied his case yesterday.

Matthew C. Kulchar, 23, was convicted of tampering with evidence at a trial October 2009. He was found not guilty of rape and kidnapping.

Ohio University Police arrested Kulchar claiming that he held another OU student in her Boyd Hall room and raped her for several hours.

While police were holding Kulchar, he sent a text message to his roommate asking him to dispose of the Spongebob Squarepants boxers he wore during the sexual encounter.

Kulchar claimed that the sex was consensual and the jury found him not guilty of rape and kidnapping. He was sentenced to three years in prison for the tampering with evidence charge. He was allowed to remain out on bail until his appeal, which he filed Jan. 26, 2010, was finalized.

In his appeal Kulchar claimed that he did not know he was being investigated when he sent the message, because the police did not define “investigation” for him.  He also claimed that he was convicted by insufficient evidence, according to court documents.

Kulchar asked for a new trial, claiming that he could not be charged or convicted of tampering with evidence because he was being investigated for a crime he did not commit. 

The court filed its decision on the appeal Thursday overruling Kulchar’s claims, stating that he was sentenced lawfully and they had sufficient evidence.

Disposing of the underwear warranted a tampering with evidence charge because Kulchar did “impair its value or availability as evidence”. The court did not need to have the underwear as evidence because they had the text messages from Kulchar’s cellphone.

Kulchar’s three-year prison sentence will not be imposed for another 60 days, to give him time to bring the case before the Supreme Court of Ohio, according to court documents.

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