Trial begins for two charged with beating, sexual assault

BRENT CLEMENT

IRON MOUNTAIN — A jury of eight men and six women was selected Monday to hear the case of two Kingsford men accused of beating and sexually assaulting a woman last June after an argument about drugs.

They will decide the fates of 33-year-old Brent Thomas Clement and 45-year-old Kenneth Robert Parent after the scheduled weeklong trial in Dickinson County Circuit Court.

Proceedings got off to a slow start Monday, with jury selection lasting well into the evening. Since there are two defendants in the trial, the prosecution and defense each had 20 peremptory challenges with which they could remove potential jurors without giving a reason.

Opening statements were scheduled for this morning. Up to 23 witnesses — including the woman, police and medical staff — may testify.

Clement and Parent each face criminal sexual conduct-first degree, a felony punishable by life or any term of years in prison, and assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder or by strangulation, a 10-year felony.

KENNETH PARENT

Clement’s habitual offender-fourth status increases the maximum penalty to life on both charges, while Parent’s habitual offender-second status increases each maximum penalty by 1.5 times.

The woman previously testified she had been living with Clement and Parent and had used drugs with them the weekend of June 10 and 11.

She and Clement got into an argument about drugs the evening of June 11, prompting her to ingest a number of her prescribed bipolar medication pills and leave the house, according to her testimony.

The woman said she saw Clement and Parent behind her before they threw her to the ground, spit on her, called her names and dragged her by the hair into a nearby wooded area. She said she tried to get away but went in and out of consciousness as they beat her and one of them sexually assaulted her.

Kingsford Public Safety officers found her in the woods after a neighbor reported hearing noises. They said they later gathered photos of her bruises, scratches and what appeared to be bite marks and a shoe print.

However, defense attorneys have challenged the woman’s credibility, arguing her injuries could have been caused by her drug use and falling down a hill. Any evidence of a sexual assault could be explained by what they claim was previous consensual sex with Clement.

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