By Monica Land
MACON – A new trial has been ordered for a now 78-year-old minister serving 20 years for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl.
R.C. Hibbler was convicted in 2005 for having sex with a girl who came over to his house to play with his twin daughters.
Prosecutors previously filed an appeal to reinstate the statutory rape conviction after the State Court of Appeals last fall ordered a new trial in the case. The Supreme Court denied that motion last week.
The State Court Of Appeals said Hibbler should get a new trial in the case because of ineffective counsel. In its ruling, the court said Hibbler’s legal team did not explore enough possible defense motives and did not conduct enough interviews of other people connected to the case.
On April 16, 2005, the girl, identified in court records as ‘Jane’ said Hibbler called her inside the house, pulled her into his room and had sex with her. The girl further asserts Hibbler slapped her, told her not to tell anyone, and she got dressed and ran home.
Hibbler was 69 at the time.
Hibbler successfully argued that his lawyer didn’t interview any witnesses in the case other than Hibbler himself and also failed to challenge the credibility of the prosecution’s witnesses during the 2008 trial.
No date for the new trial has been set. Hibbler remains behind bars.