Jury deliberations continue Monday in 'sleepover' child molestation trial

chwilliams@ledger-enquirer.comMarch 14, 2014 

McKissic

After nearly five hours of deliberation Friday, a six-man, six-woman Superior Court jury recessed for the weekend without rendering a verdict in the trial of a Columbus man accused of molesting three girls ages 9, 10 and 13 during a 2012 sleepover.

Carlton Steve McKissic is accused of molesting the girls on March 20, 2012, after serving them beer and having them watch a sex movie. Now 37, McKissic faces charges of aggravated sodomy, aggravated child molestation and three counts each of child molestation and furnishing alcohol to minors. The most serious charges — aggravated sodomy and aggravated child molestation — allegedly involved only the youngest child.

The three victims were sitting on the back of the courtroom during closing arguments Friday morning. Judge William Rumer gave the case to the jury at 11:35 a.m., and had lunch brought to jurors so they could continue their deliberations.

The jury left for the weekend at 4:30 p.m. Rumer told jurors to return at 8:15 a.m. Monday.

In her closing argument, defense attorney Robin King told the jury the allegations were part of a conspiracy created by adults, including McKissic’s wife, who wanted get rid of McKissic, a convicted felon who told police he was under a restraining order prohibiting his visiting his wife’s Enoch Drive home, where the girls held their slumber party, His wife repeatedly had called police to report McKissic was abusing her.

King did not sugarcoat McKissic’s past, which includes multiple offenses.

“The man is a wife-beater, but he is not a child molester,” King told jurors. “You would be derelict to convict him of these charges. ... The devil is not sitting there. The devil is in the details.”

Assistant District Attorney Wesley Lambertus argued McKissic did molest the three girls and sodomize the youngest.

“Mrs. King said, ‘My client is a wife beater,’” Lambertus said. “That is a pretty good inference he is intimidating.”

The state did not have to prove penetration in the charges involving the 9-year-old, Lambertus told the jury. The law only requires proof that the private body parts touched, the prosecutor said.

Both lawyers used graphic sexual language to describe the offense. At times jurors looked down at the floor instead of straight at the attorneys.

King claimed the oldest victim, who had to be brought back to the stand after her initial testimony, made up the story. The older girl claimed McKissic had fondled her before.

“She was told, ‘That bad man won’t come back if you tell a story,’” King told the jury. “She is not credible. He didn’t touch her.” The older girl was described as “special,” or of diminished mental capacity.

Lambertus said the oldest child “is one of state’s most credible witnesses, because her answers are simple.”

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