Appeal dismissed for Bismarck man convicted of raping four-year-old

22-year-old Paxton Heywood
22-year-old Paxton Heywood(KFYR)
Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 3:26 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - A Bismarck man convicted of gross sexual imposition for raping a four-year-old and giving her a sexually transmitted infection has lost an appeal.

Last May, a district court judge sentenced 22-year-old Paxton Heywood to 10 years in prison for the crime. Heywood appealed his case last September saying the jury’s verdict was not supported by sufficient evidence and the state improperly amended information to “surprise” the defense.

Just before the verdict, the state updated information about two other suspects interviewed in the investigation before Heywood was named as the sole perpetrator based on the child’s statement. The lower court said there was no element of surprise with this information and Supreme Court Justices agreed. Justices also agreed that substantial evidence exists that allowed the jury to draw an inference in favor of conviction. Thursday, they dismissed the appeal.

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