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Victim reveals her scars during testimony in 1998 rape, attempted murder case

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Victim reveals her scars during testimony in 1998 rape, attempted murder case

John J. Iden listens to testimonies from witnesses on behalf of the State of Ohio during the third day of his trial.

John J. Iden listens to testimonies from witnesses on behalf of the State of Ohio during the third day of his trial.

Christine Holmes

John J. Iden listens to testimonies from witnesses on behalf of the State of Ohio during the third day of his trial.

Christine Holmes

Christine Holmes

John J. Iden listens to testimonies from witnesses on behalf of the State of Ohio during the third day of his trial.

By Jessica Johnston, Assistant News Director

The woman who was found in a field covered in blood wearing one sock and a T-shirt took to the witness stand Friday morning to testify in the case regarding John J. Iden. Her testimony ended with her showing the jury multiple scars from the night that changed her life.

Five women testified on behalf of the State of Ohio claiming to have been sexually assaulted by Iden Thursday. Friday morning, the victim at the center of the case of the State of Ohio versus John J. Iden took to the stand to tell the court what she remembered from the night before she was found.

That woman will be referred to as “the victim.” The following is the victim’s recollection from the night of Sept. 25, 1998, according to her sworn testimony in the Muskingum County Court of Common Pleas.

The Victim

The night of Sept. 25, 1998, the victim was at a friend’s house that was nearby to the home she was living at with her aunt. She was there using the phone.

The victim left her friend’s house with a man that she vaguely knew as she asked him for a ride to the bar. She and the man went to a bar where she met up with a guy she called Mark from work.

During law enforcement’s investigation of the case in 1998, witnesses described Mark from work a man between 5’5” and 5’8” with dark hair, a small to medium sized build and some said he was stocky.

The victim introduced Mark from work to the man she came to the bar with and said she would get a ride with Mark, and the two said they were leaving.

Mark and the victim went to another bar, but the victim didn’t have her ID with her and the bartender wouldn’t serve her, so they left and went to another bar. At that bar, the victim said she had four beers and three shots.

She doesn’t remember leaving the bar after that. The next thing the victim said she remembered was “waking up in the hospital in a lot of pain.”

After waking up in the hospital, the victim told law enforcement that Mark from work was John J. Iden. The two worked together at Union Tool in 1998. Iden would pick her up and drive her to and from work sometimes.

The victim said she spent over two months in the hospital after she was found the morning of Sept. 26, 1998. When she was released from the hospital, she continued medical treatment including reconstructive surgery, taking medications and going to other doctor’s appointments.

To this day, the victim said she still has trouble sleeping, nightmares and panic attacks.

Before leaving the stand, Muskingum County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Ron Welch asked the victim to show the jury her scars. She stood up and pointed out scars on her chest before lifting her hair up to reveal a large section of scarring on the back-left side of her head. She added that she had more scars on her arms and legs.

During her questioning, the victim said that she would never have consented to any sexual activities with Iden.

Following the victim’s testimony, a woman who had dated Iden during 1998 took to the stand.

The woman said she and the victim were friends as they had met at a bar and hung out with one another on occasion. The woman also said she had been casually dating Iden at the time.

The woman had heard rumors about what happened to the victim and who had allegedly assaulted her. The rumors pointed toward Iden.

She confronted Iden about the rumors one day in his car in 1998. During her testimony ,she said Iden put a crowbar across her chest and said, “I did it to her and I can do it to you.”

Law enforcement contacted the woman to see if she had any information surrounding the victim’s case or Iden’s alleged involvement, she said she didn’t know anything due to her fear of Iden.

She later retracted her statement about not knowing anything and told law enforcement what had happened when she confronted Iden.

Christine Holmes
Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Ron Welch presents a map to former MCSO detective Bob Stutes to identify where the victim and another woman from Licking County had allegedly been assaulted by John J. Iden.

The Detective

The lead detective on the victim’s case in 1998 was then detective for the Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office Bob Stutes.

He took the stand Friday morning to walk the court through his investigation from 20 years ago.

The initial suspect in the case was the man that drove the victim to the bar the night of Sept. 25, 1998, as the victim’s aunt told investigators that he was the last person she had seen the victim with that night.

Upon further investigation, Stutes ruled the man out as a suspect as he received many accounts from witnesses stating that the victim was seen later on in the night with Iden.

Stutes questioned Iden after asking for assistance from the Licking County Sheriff’s Office for assistance in locating him as Iden was living in Newark.

During his questioning in 1998, Iden’s account of the night didn’t match up with the victim’s. He said he started his night at The Eagles, a bar, with his mom and step-dad. He left and went to a club, which was the same bar that the victim was at but it was crowded so he went back to The Eagles.

The victim later went to the same establishment and approached Iden. The two, along with another woman, went to another bar in Buckeye Lake. The victim and Iden danced briefly and then went to separate locations inside the bar. The night ended with Iden driving the victim home to her aunt’s house and leaving her on the front porch as she told him she didn’t want her aunt to know she had been drinking. He described the victim as passed out drunk in his passenger seat.

Iden told Stutes the two had very limited contact during the night, he recounted that they danced together and he had hugged her after the dance, nothing more.

At that point, in 1998, Iden became the lead suspect in the case.

Friday morning, Stutes recounted many of the people he spoke to in attempts to piece the case together — witnesses from the bars, bartenders, doormen, other law enforcement from Licking County, friends and family members of the victims — but to no avail. It wasn’t until 2016, with an indictment in 2017, that the case resurfaced.

The trial is in recess for the weekend and will resume Monday morning in the Muskingum County Court of Common Pleas with evidence presented by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

For more information on this case:

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