Over 2 years since rape arrest, trial date still elusive

It’s been two years since Harry Claude Adam Page was accused of the rape and attempted murder of a woman at Hightower Beach Park in Satellite Beach.

Last week, Page had his 14th hearing to see if attorneys are ready to go to trial.

They aren’t.

As a complex rape case involving expert testimony and scientific testing, it takes time to properly prepare. Page also had his public defender withdraw from the case, necessitating a change in representation.

“If the defendant has a conflict with the public defender’s office, say for example if they represented the victim of the case in the past, we take on those cases,” said attorney David Feinswog with the office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel, 5th District, which now handles Page’s case.

To prepare for trial, attorneys have taken sworn statements from potential witnesses, including law enforcement officers from the Satellite Beach Police Department and DNA experts with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Page was arrested on March 15, 2017, after his DNA – collected in conjunction with a 2000 sexual assault case in Tampa in which Page was convicted – came back a match to evidence from the Hightower incident. He stands accused of attempted murder, attempted sexual battery, burglary, aggravated battery, robbery and false imprisonment for an alleged incident that occurred in the daylight hours of Feb. 12, 2017, as the victim read a book in her car in the parking lot.

He pled not guilty and asked for a jury trial, in which Assistant State Attorney Kathryn Speicher is expected to prosecute on behalf of State Attorney Phil Archer’s office.

The discovery in this case includes video taken at Dollar General, cellphone records, photographs, sex offender registrations from 2016 and 2017, Polk County jail phone records, an audio interview with the defendant, and a 49-page transcript of an interview with the defendant.

Florida Board Certified Criminal Trial Attorney Kepler Funk, who is not involved with the Page case but who has handled thousands of criminal cases, said having 14 docket soundings for a case of this magnitude is not unusual, presuming diligence. “We have continued cases for much longer than that,” Funk said. “Although we are always ready to explain to the court the valid reasons and those include real investigation and preparation.”

Preparation in this case includes reams of documents and consultation with several expert witnesses.

According to court records, the state’s witness list includes an expert in computer forensics from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, an expert in fingerprints and fingerprint comparison, three DNA profile experts from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the manager of Dollar General in Satellite Beach, and the custodian of records for the Florida Department of Transportation, as records from E-pass scanners and license plate cameras also track Page’s vehicle on the day of the incident.

Page’s next hearing is scheduled for June 19 before Judge Nancy Maloney inside the Moore Justice Center in Viera.

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