The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


April 17, 2014

Jury deliberating in sex abuse case

CLINTON — Jurors were set to return to court this morning to continue deliberating on the trial of a man accused of sexually abusing a 3-year-old girl.

The jury deliberated for more than two hours on the Russell McColley case Wednesday afternoon, before Judge John Telleen sent home jurors for the day. McColley, 39, is charged with second-degree sexual abuse, a class B felony, which carries as much as 25 years in prison.

Assistant County Attorney Ross Barlow asked jurors to consider the DNA evidence and testimony from law enforcement presented in this case, rather than the “soap opera” of the defendant’s relationship with the alleged victim’s mother. He said in his closing statement that defense attorney Derek Jones wants the jury to focus on her credibility, instead of what happened to her daughter.

The state’s case finished Wednesday morning with Scott Stocksleger, from the Division of Criminal Investigations laboratory in Ankeny. The witness processed swabs and a pair of underwear from a sexual abuse kit with the alleged victim’s name on it.

Stocksleger told the court that he examined swabs taken from around the victim’s mouth, hair and left elbow for seminal fluid and sperm, but did not find any. A spot on the waistband of the girl’s underwear also was negative for semen. Barlow told the court in his closing statement that finding DNA is like finding a needle in a hay stack.

“If we don’t find it, it doesn’t mean it’s not there,” Barlow said.

Stocksleger did detect sperm on the inside panel of the girl’s underwear. He testified that the DNA matched a sample taken from McColley.

Jones had Stocksleger confirm that his tests cannot show how the semen ended up in the girl’s underwear. Barlow addressed this argument in his closing argument.

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