Man not guilty of sexual abuse

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 15, 2003

After a two-day trial, a jury found a Pike County man not guilty of sexual abuse charges leveled at him by a member of his family.

Eugene Kilpatrick, 35, was acquitted Friday on both counts of felony charges of sexual abuse of a minor. The jury issued its finding after a day of defense witness testimony that impugned the credibility of the young girl bringing the charges and poked holes in the story that Kilpatrick had touched the girl, who is his niece, on two separate occasions.

The defense argued that certain details of the girl's story were inaccurate, such as her recollection of watching television on a TV set that witnesses said did not work at the time of the alleged incidents.

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The decision was met with audible sighs of relief and Kilpatrick exclaimed, &uot;Thank you Lord,&uot; when the jury announced the verdict after approximately 30 minutes of deliberation. He was congratulated by several members of his family, many of whom had testified during the trial. Judge Thomas Head, who presided over the trial, confirmed the verdict and dismissed Kilpatrick.

The family of the young girl was visibly shaken after hearing the verdict and quickly rushed from the courtroom.

The courtroom prosecution was headed up by Sherryl Harrison, who attempted to convince the jury that the girl had no reason to lie.

Lead defense counsel Randy Arnold to say simply, &uot;It speaks for itself.&uot;

Stephen Stetson can be reached at stephen.stetson