CSC trial ends with not guilty verdict.

February 22, 2019

Mark Langston, left, with attorney Tim Hayes, who was standing in for attorney Terry Nolan, during a hearing, Feb. 11, in 27th Circuit Court.

CSC trial ends with not guilty verdict.


By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

HART – A criminal sexual conduct trial against a 32-year-old Muskegon man accused of sexually assaulting an “incapacitated” or “physically helpless” woman ended with a not guilty verdict in 27th Circuit Court Thursday, Feb. 21.

Mark Steven Langston II, faced prison for two felony counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC) of a female victim who was allegedly intoxicated at the time of the assaults and “in and out of consciousness,” previously said Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon.

Langston, who is a convicted sex offender, rejected a plea offer that would have capped his prison term at 76 months, which is 6 1/3 years.

The victim, who was not in a dating relationship with Langston, was highly intoxicated at the time of assault, said Bizon. “We believe she was far too intoxicated to give consent.” The alleged incident occurred after a wedding last June in Mears. “Everybody had been drinking,” he said.

Langston’s attorney, Terry Nolan, said he described the situation during his closing argument as “wedding reception sex. All of a sudden, she said it was rape.”

“It was a white victim with a black guy with all white witnesses,” Nolan said.

“My client was brilliant in his testimony, and the jury believed him.”

Langston provided a short video during the trial that “impeached the testimony by the witnesses,” Nolan said. It showed that the victim later that morning after the alleged assault was “completely sober.” The alleged assault occurred at 5 a.m., he said.

The incident occurred at a rental house where the wedding party was staying for the night. Langston was a groomsman in the wedding, and the alleged victim was the maid of honor. “He was a friend of the groom,” Nolan said.

Langston started crying after the verdict was announced, Nolan said. “He went through eight months of torture (during the course of the case). He was facing 22 1/2 years in prison, which realistically would have been 10 years.”

“We presented the best case that we believe we could present,” Bizon said. “We are disappointed on behalf of the victim. We don’t agree with the verdict but respect that the system was followed.”

Langston faced two counts because “there was more than one alleged penetration of a drunk incapacitated victim,” Bizon said.

The maximum penalty for third-degree CSC is 15 years in prison.

According to the Michigan Sex Offender Registry, Langston was convicted of a high-court misdemeanor of fourth-degree CSC – victim 13-15 years old – in Muskegon County, April 25, 2013.

The case was scheduled for a three-day trial that began Wednesday, but it wrapped up Thursday after two days. The jury deliberated for 35 minutes before reaching a verdict, Bizon said.

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