BRENTWOOD – The defense team for accused rapist Eliezer Tuttle could not agree with prosecutors on sentencing at a hearing Monday, meaning the case is headed for trial in 2021, new court paperwork explains.
A scheduling conference set for Jan. 5 is nearly two years after Tuttle was arrested for raping a girl twice in the backseat of his car, first in Salem, New Hampshire, and then later the same day in Epping.
Records show Tuttle was on probation at the time for indecent assault of a classmate at North Andover High School.
He has been incarcerated in New Hampshire since March 2019.
In Salem, he faces two counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault (no consent), aggravated felonious sexual assault (use of force/violence), two counts of simple assault and second-degree assault (strangulation).
Tuttle is charged in Epping with aggravated felonious sexual assault, attempted aggravated felonious sexual assault, criminal restraint and two counts of simple assault.
The cases are being rolled together and prosecuted by Assistant County Attorney Melissa Fales.
Judge Daniel St. Hilaire filed paperwork Monday explaining an eventual trial is expected to last five days and will include 25 witnesses.
“This would include a few witnesses from Massachusetts but some of those are college students and may need to be in other states,” St. Hilaire said.
The case will land in front of a jury after an original sentencing offer of 10 to 20 years, stand committed, was countered by the defense with two to three years for second-degree assault, according to St. Hilaire.
Tuttle's trial, originally scheduled for Oct. 2019, was pushed to the end of March and then again to the end for June.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major scheduling issues since, especially in cases requiring a jury, across the state.
According to police records, a local girl went to Salem police Feb. 18, 2019 to say she was attacked by Tuttle the day before.
The girl said she first met Tuttle at the Mall at Rockingham Park before they made plans to go out to eat in Salem. Instead, Tuttle raped her twice in the back seat of his car, according to the victim.
“They agreed to meet and the man picked her up,” Salem police Lt. Joe Keating said. “They went to a local restaurant but never went inside.”
Police wrote in a report that Tuttle held the girl down against her will and hindered her breathing.
The girl said that after the Salem attack, Tuttle drove her to a movie theater in Epping, about a half hour away, where she was attacked again, according to police.
Police said they interviewed the victim and members of her family before arresting Tuttle.
Over the last several years, two other North Andover High classmates have claimed Tuttle sexually assaulted them.
Other than the case for which Tuttle was on probation, no charges were filed against him regarding the other allegations.
Tuttle’s parents have maintained his innocence through a public statement issued by Attorney Nicole Reilly in April 2019.
“Our son stands accused of a crime he did not commit,” the statement reads. “Yet a barrage of reports in the media have and continue to mischaracterize and vilify him.”