The prosecution and defense have rested in the trial of Jeremy O. Brown, who is accused of sexually abusing his then girlfriend’s child at the age of 11 and 12 here in Jasper. Court adjourned Wednesday afternoon and will resume Thursday morning with closing arguments, followed by the jury considering guilt or innocence.
The alleged victim took the stand for the prosecution on Wednesday morning and after answering questions for several minutes she experienced an emotional breakdown on the stand, causing the court to go into a brief recess.
The child, now 14, was very bright and intelligent and gave extremely articulate testimony.
The child testified that Brown began by inappropriately touching her two nights in a row, and each time he apologized and said that it would never happen again.
The child went on to testify that the touching continued and eventually he tried, but failed, to have sexual intercourse on two occasions, specifying “It wouldn’t fit”. Again, she said that each time he apologized and again said that it would never happen again.
This particular testimony was later corroborated by an expert witness, however, it was refuted by the one and only defense witness called to the stand.
The prosecution asked the child how many times Brown had sexual activity with her, to which she replied it was too many times to remember.
It was during this portion of testimony when the child suddenly broke down and began to cry. A District Attorney’s Office victim coordinator, who had been sitting at the prosecution table, rushed to the child and was escorted from the courtroom, and then District Judge Craig Mixson sent the jury out of the room.
Defense attorney Jeremy Willis then objected to the victim coordinator being allowed to sit at the prosecution table and also the judge allowing her to rush to the child’s side and then escorting the child out of the courtroom, all in full view of the jury. Judge Mixson ruled that the victim coordinator should, instead, sit in the audience.
Under cross examination the child testified that her mother ended the relationship with Jeremy Brown immediately after the allegations of sexual abuse were made, and also that she now lives with her father in Corrigan, although she would have preferred to continue living with her mother here in Jasper.
Earlier in the day, testimony began with the prosecution calling a counselor, Rodney Harrington, and a teacher, Renda Buckley, from Jasper Junior High School. They testified that the child made an outcry about alleged sexual abuse at school. Also taking the stand was Elizabeth Turner of The Garth House in Beaumont, who testified about an interview with the alleged victim.
Following a lunch break, the prosecution called upon Brenda Garison, a registered nurse with many years of conducting physical examinations of females following (alleged) sexual assaults.
Garison testified that she examined the child and she said that she observed evidence of penetration. Specifically, an injury that had already healed.
Meanwhile, defense attorney Jeremy Willis fought hard to have the court dismiss the qualifications of Garison, as well as other prosecution expert witnesses. Judge Mixson overruled and allowed Garison to continue her testimony.
Under cross examination, Willis asked her about the size of the tear or injury that she observed, and Garison said that she had not measured the size. She did, however, testify that the particular location of the injury was consistent with penile penetration, rather than digital penetration.
The state rested at 2:55 p.m., and the defense then called their only witness, Jeremy Brown’s cousin, Anthony Holmes.
Holmes is currently a Jasper County Jail inmate and he appeared in court in an orange jail jumpsuit with his wrists handcuffed in front of him and shackles on his ankles. Holmes is being held on a hold from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for a parole violation and he will soon go back to prison.
Holmes testified for the defense that he had known the alleged victim for about three months when the outcry was made at Jasper Junior High School. Holmes testified that he picked up the girl from school that day and drove her home.
Holmes went on to testify that at some point later, he asked the girl “Did my cousin really do that to you?”, and he said the girl told him that it really didn not happen, and she admitted that she made it all up because her mother did not give her enough attention and she wanted more attention from her.
On cross examination, Assistant District Attorney Carol Dillon said “Mr. Holmes, am I to understand correctly that your testimony to this jury is that the girl told you that this did not happen and she made it up, and you told nobody about this?” He replied “Yes mam”.
Following cross examination the witness was excused and the defense rested.
Judge Mixson dismissed court for the day. The charge will be prepared and presented to the jury along with closing arguments on Thursday.