The jury is in the deliberation stage.
There was a twist in the opening for the defense Thursday morning in the Gary Freeland Rape Trial in Chillicothe.
The defendent took the witness stand in his own defense this morning, where he described a "troubled and sometime violent" step-son and "strong willed" step-daughter in their Chillicothe home.
He said they had "calmed" when they moved to a new location just outside of Washington CH, and sometimes hugged him goodnight.
In a conference held between lawyers and the judge before the jury was brought into Ross County Common Pleas Court Thursday, Judge Jhan Corzine agreed to a motion to drop four counts including three couts of molestation of Gary Freeland's step-son in Fayette County, and a rape of a tutoring student in a church bathroom.
The judge considered the motion to drop one additional count and did so later, to leave nine for the jury to consider.
As of about 4pm, the jury is deliberating on the remaining nine of originally 14 counts, after lengthy instructions from Judge Corzine, repeated objections to each side’s closing arguments, and a passionate closing rebuttal by the prosecution.
Pointing at Freeland, Assistant State Prosecutor Marianne Hemmeter said, "from day one, the fox was in the hen house" - and that Freeland knew the three alleged victims were isolated and vulnerable kids.
Defense attorney Jim Boulger admitted that the images painted in the trial were horrific, but were they true? He emphasized inconsistencies in the testimony, and a lack of medical data - especially on the children of a nurse, and another of a doctor.
The defense pointed out delayed reporting, inconsistencies of testimony and reporting – and evidence of anger, not molestation, as motivation for the testimony of the stepson and stepdaughter.
Boulger characterized testimony of the tutoring student as “some sort of weird performance art,” which the prosecution instead described as “snapshots of a moving train” by “a scary bright kid.”
The prosecution further emphasized that the apparent inconsistencies are evidence of honest testimony being increasingly dredged up from traumatized childhoods, and not a scripted conspiracy.
As of 6pm, the jurors have been dismissed for the evening. Deliberations will resume at 9am, Friday.