FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 03, 2018


Media Contact: Vicki Elaine Becker (574) 296-1888

Ryan T. Baxter was found guilty this week of Rape, a Level 1 felony, and Strangulation, a Level 6 felony, after a three day jury trial in the Elkhart Superior Court 1. Baxter was formally charged after an investigation by the Middlebury Police Department established evidence that he had forced sexual intercourse on his victim, a young woman he had known from high school, while threatening deadly force. In August 2015, the victim and Baxter had reconnected over social media, which led to the two meeting again. Baxter was invited to the victim’s apartment in Middlebury, however he immediately started to make physical advances toward the victim that made her uncomfortable. Thereafter, Baxter forced the victim to have sexual intercourse while strangling her.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorneys Kathleen Claeys and Patrick Dowd presented the case for the State of Indiana. The jury heard graphic evidence from the victim recounting her terror, and commitment to survive the ordeal so that she would be able to “point him out” when able to get help. The State also presented corroborating evidence from other witnesses, including the treating medical professional.

Baxter also took the stand and testified on cross-examination that the intercourse was consensual, but wouldn’t specifically describe how the victim was consenting to the acts. Baxter further testified that although he and the victim had never had sexual intercourse before, his first instinct was to place his hand in a “firm grasp” around her neck as he performed his act.

The twelve members of the jury rejected Baxter’s version of “consent” and found Baxter guilty. At the sentencing hearing scheduled for October 5, 2018, he will face a maximum penalty of forty (40) years at the Indiana Department of Correction.



“Under Indiana law, all persons arrested for a criminal offense are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.”