Jury: Guilty on most counts

After 17 hours of deliberation Wednes?day and into Thursday morning, a district court jury in Marion found three Peabody residents guilty on two counts of rape, aggravated criminal sodomy and aggravated kidnapping involving a 14-year-old girl.

As the individual verdicts were read, Terry Bowen, 63, gave a startled look at his attorney and slumped in his seat, Lora J. Gay, 38, bowed her head shaking no and, her son Kenneth Frederick, 22, sat motionless and staring straight ahead.

The eight men and four women on the jury started deliberating about 8: 40 a.m. Wednes?day and continued through Thurs?day morning until coming to a decision at 1:15 a.m. Other than a 20-minute break, the jury continued its work uninterrupted.

Key evidence

According to the foreperson, who asked not to be identified, the jury reviewed all the audio, video, state and defense exhibits, written testimony and statements introduced at trial before coming back with a guilty verdict.

?We wanted to get it right,? the foreperson said, ?and we did the best we believe we could in making our decision.?

Without DNA evidence, the jury filled in the gaps using the evidence they did have, the foreperson said.

?Not every juror started out on the same page,? the foreperson said. ?We had three defendants with multiple charges and some people were split (on their guilt or innocence).?

The foreperson said there were several elements of the case that led them to their verdict conclusion, including the Kansas Bureau of Investiga?tion?s interview with Frederick and the inconsistencies in his story about how much time he spent with the victim.

Also, a lot of credibility was given to the victim based on her video-taped interview with Wilma Mueller, a social worker at the Child Advocacy Center in Newton.

Closing arguments

In his closing arguments, Assistant Kansas District Attorney Charles Klebe spoke about a telephone call Frederick had with an caller while in jail in which Frederick asked about evidence of ejaculation.

Klebe told the jury this was a man with a guilty conscience.

Conversely, Frederick?s attorney, Donald Snapp of Newton, said his client did not have a guilty conscience, but was professing his innocence.

?I think it?s obvious (Freder?ick) doesn?t express himself well, articulate himself or is not the most intelligent person,? he said.

Snapp said Frederick was simply asking the caller that if he did rape the victim, wouldn?t there be evidence?

Klebe also revisited testimony by the victim, her stepfather, stepbrother, mother and others. He said the attack was about fear, power and control over the victim, who was from an under-privileged family.

David Harger, representing Bowen, talked about a 14-year-old girl messing around, late on her cycle and thinking she was pregnant.

Although Harger said the court may never know the details of the victim?s ?messing around,? he did say she exhibited evidence of sexual activity.

Hodges testified, Harger said, there was no way the injury to the victim happened between June 22 and June 28, but rather ?within three to four days of July 16.?

Harger asked the jury to be wary of testimony that is questionable and or implausible.

Deliberation

Eighth Judicial District Judge Michael Powers said it?s not unusual for a jury to deliberate 17 hours or more.

?What was unusual,? he said, ?is having a jury go that many hours without taking much of a break and working continuously.?

As for the time it took to bring the case to trial?about one year from start to finish?Powers said that when there are a number of defendants charged with a serious matter, such as rape, a lot of research and preparation needs to be done.

The decision

The first inkling that the jury might be nearing a verdict came about 10:50 p.m. Then, just after midnight, a note was sent out asking for the definition of kidnapping and how the word ?confinement? relates to it.

Once the jury?s question was answered, it took them less than an hour to declare a verdict.

As a matter of dignity to their clients, Harger requested that Gay, Bowen and Frederick be allowed to change from their orange jail uniforms to their street clothes.

The three defendants walked back into the courtroom at 1:30 p.m., shackled at the wrists and ankles to hear their fate.

Prior to reading the verdict, Powers warned everyone present to refrain from expressing emotions. Nine armed law enforcement officers were strategically located in the courtroom to ensure order.

In addition to the guilty verdicts for rape, kidnapping and sodomy, Gay and Frederick were both also found guilty of criminal threat. The three defendants were found not guilty of a battery charge.

The sentencing hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. Aug. 9 at the district court in Marion.

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