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Convicted rapist wants verdicts overturned

CONCORD — A man found guilty two weeks ago of raping a 15-year-old fellow church member in 1997 is asking a Merrimack County Superior Court judge to throw out the verdicts and grant him a new trial.

Lawyers for Ernest Willis, 52, filed motions challenging the victim's testimony and part of a taped interview of police detectives that was played to jurors during the trial, the Concord Monitor reported.

Willis previously pleaded guilty to felonious sexual assault and admitted to one instance of sexual contact with Tina Anderson when she was under the age of consent. He denied the other charges.

Anderson, who became pregnant with Willis' baby, chose to identify herself as a victim as the case went to trial. She recounted how she had to stand before the congregation at their Trinity Baptist Church and apologize for getting pregnant.

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