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April 26, 2013

Shananaquet guilty of sex assault

Tyler Shananaquet faces up to life in prison after a jury convicted him of raping and beating a woman who sought a ride home from a bonfire party.

A jury on Friday morning found the 21-year-old Williamsburg man guilty of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, and assault with intent to do bodily harm. The jury deliberated for about  3 hours Thursday and almost 2 hours this morning following a three-day trial in 13th Circuit Court.

"It was the right verdict," said Noelle Moeggenberg, chief assistant prosecuting attorney for Grand Traverse County. "The defendant's account didn't add up (to) the evidence that was there."

The 20-year-old victim said Shananaquet attacked her when she got in his truck on Nov. 22. She said she feared for her life as he hit her across the face, choked her and raped her.

The woman’s eye was swollen shut, her face was bruised and she had a chipped tooth.

Shananaquet testified the victim initiated sex and he had no doubt it was consensual. He said he did hit her twice after he drove her home because she did not give him the $20 in gas money she promised.

There was more damage than what would be delivered by two punches, including evidence of choking, Moeggenberg said.

The testimony of two other women who came forward after Shananaquet's arrest and alleged he sexually assaulted them was also key to the conviction, Moeggenberg said.

A date was not set for sentencing.

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