Jury Deadlocks on First Day in Trial of Ex-Woodstock Cop
Defense attorney Brian Marsicovetere argues for a mistrial after jurors deliberated for more than four hours without reaching a verdict for Richard Kelley. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap)
Vermont state prosecutor Cathy Norman makes her closing statement during the trial yesterday. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap)
White River Junction — A jury deliberated for four hours without reaching a verdict yesterday in case of a former Windsor County sheriff’s deputy charged with sexual misconduct with a minor.
A jury of six men and six women said it was deadlocked last night on two counts of lewd and lascivious conduct against Richard Kelley, 57, a former Woodstock police officer and Windsor County Sheriff’s deputy.
Judge Robert Gerety ordered jurors to return this morning at 9 a.m. and continue deliberations.
The judge rejected a request from defense attorney Brian Marsicovetere to declare a mistrial after the jury foreperson announced “I don’t think it’s possible,” when Gerety asked him if they could reach a verdict.
“Sometimes a good nights sleep makes a big difference for people,” Gerety told the jurors.
Kelley, most recently of Pawlet, Vt., is charged with committing crimes in Woodstock between 2006 and 2008 and again in 2009. The alleged victim, who took the witness stand on Tuesday, was under 13 years old at the time.
As a general practice, the Valley News does not identify victims of alleged sex crimes. The victim knew Kelley, who joined the Windsor County Sheriff’s Department in 1997, and resigned in October 2010 as the investigation intensified.
If convicted on both of the charges, which allegedly occured at separate times over several years in the Woodstock area, Kelley, could face up to 30 years in prison. Kelley took the stand in his own defense.
Kelley also faces a lewd and lascivious charge in Orange County with a different alleged victim.
Before deliberations, the prosecutor and defense attorney yesterday presented closing arguments.
“The time has come to set this man free from these wretched allegations, to send him out of here free,” Marsicovetere said. “Please find him not guilty. Please don’t ignore the evidence in this case.”
But Assistant Attorney General Cathy Norman said that the evidence over the course of the trial shows that they were done intentionally.
“What else could his intent have been when he committed these alleged acts?” Norman asked the jury. “What other possible intent could he have had?”
The victim told her sister about the alleged acts several years after they occurred, Norman said, citing testimony over the past couple of days. Her sister then told their mother, who called the police.
Marsicovetere noted the lack of physical evidence in the case — there were no witnesses present when the alleged acts occurred — and said that there were several inconsistencies in the victim’s testimony on Tuesday.
“It’s not just about what (the victim) told you,” Marsicovetere said, and then trained his gaze on the prosecutor’s table. “It’s about the evidence.”
The charges filed against Kelley “scare people,” Marsicovetere said. “But they can’t scare you away from the evidence.”
Less than an hour into deliberations, jurors sent a note to Gerety asking for clarification on two pieces of evidence.
They asked whether authorities traveled out of state to interview the victim, who has long since moved to the Midwest. And they asked to whom the alleged victim reported one of the incidents.
The request presented a thorny issue for attorneys and Gerety, whom are generally restricted from engaging the jury once closing arguments are made.
Ultimately, Gerety wrote a note back, telling jurors that, if they requested, they could hear a recording of testimony from a specific person.
But jurors were not interested in the offer. The wrote back a few minutes later — to request a smoke break. Three hours later, they announced they could not make a decision.
Mark Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3304. Jon Wolper can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3248.