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Md. appeals court upholds convictions in beer pong sex assault cases

Joey Poindexter (Photo: Montgomery County police)

Joey Poindexter (Photo: Montgomery County police)

The conviction of a Montgomery County man found guilty of raping at least five men he met at beer pong events has been upheld by the Court of Special Appeals.

Joey Poindexter was sentenced to 150 years in prison in April 2015 after representing himself through most of two trials. Evidence showed on at least five occasions he befriended younger, college-aged men at beer pong events and encouraged them to drink until they blacked out before taking them to his home and sexually assaulting them.

After a victim reported Poindexter and worked with police, a search of Poindexter’s computer hard drive uncovered photographs and videos of other assaults which were used to identify at least four other victims, according to Court of Special Appeals’ unreported opinion, filed Dec. 19.

On appeal, Poindexter questioned the trial court’s decision to only sever the charges relating to the initial victim who came forward and keep the four later-identified victims’ cases together, as well as the finding that his waiver of counsel in the midst of his first trial carried over to the second trial the following week.

Poindexter waived his right to counsel following a “tumultuous” relationship with his panel attorneys appointed by the Office of the Public Defender, according to the appellate court opinion. Both Poindexter and his attorney attempted to sever the relationship, and the judge eventually agreed at the conclusion of the state’s case in the first trial following an extensive discussion with Poindexter about the rights he was forfeiting, including representation at the second trial.

“Under the totality of the circumstances, there is no reason that a knowing, voluntary, and clear waiver of counsel by Poindexter in the first trial would not apply to the second trial that began a week later,” wrote Judge Dan Friedman, who was joined in the unanimous opinion by Judge Kathryn Grill Graeff and retired Judge J. Frederick Sharer.

The appellate court also found no error in the trial court’s decision to sever the case of the victim who identified Poindexter from the remaining four victims. Poindexter had sought to have five separate trials because of potential prejudice.

“The potential costs to the witnesses and to the court inherent in holding five separate trials outweigh the general prejudice described by Poindexter — the assertion that trying the offenses against all four victims together would lead the jury to convict based on the volume of cumulative evidence,” Friedman wrote.

Poindexter was represented on appeal by Nancy Forster of Forster, Johnson & Lecompte in Baltimore. Forster declined to comment Wednesday and said she has not yet read the full opinion.

The case is Joey G. Poindexter v. State of Maryland, No. 0406 Sept. Term 2015.

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