Testimony in the trial of a previously convicted sex offender charged with molesting an 8-year-old girl in 2013 concluded Wednesday afternoon.
Closing statements were set to start at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 15. Jury deliberations will follow.
Evidence presented in the case included testimony from the girl, who is now a 10-year-old fourth-grader. She showed little emotion from the witness stand this week when describing the alleged sexual abuse.
“He was touching me in my bad spot,” she testified.
On cross-examination, the girl said that she had practiced her testimony with her parents and prosecutors, saying the repetition made it easier to remember.
The alleged victim’s older sister – the only eyewitness to the alleged crimes – testified that she discovered the defendant, Andrew Allmon, whom she sometimes referred to as “Uncle Andy,” on top of her sister on the day in question.
At times appearing disinterested in the proceedings, the sister later admitted on cross-examination that she had lied to authorities about a plot by her father to kill her mother. Charges remain pending against the father.
Saying that she tried to erase the incident from her memory, the sister also said she didn’t “exactly remember” what she had witnessed and that her testimony differed from what she told a social worker the day after the alleged crimes.
“I’m ready for this to be over,” she said.
The alleged victim’s mother also testified that she, her husband and three daughters, now 17, 15 and 10, moved into Allmon’s home after the family experienced tough economic times.
“He was good to the family,” she said. “We trusted him.”
On cross-examination, the mother said that the young girl initially denied the allegations and that she was never alarmed by a change in the child’s behavior.
“She was a happy kid,” the mother said.
Dr. Robert Heyl, a family physician who examined the young girl two days after the alleged assault in June 2013, said on Tuesday that he didn’t find signs of an injury.
Heyl, a prosecution witness, explained that his findings were expected since there were only allegations about touching. On cross-examination, Heyl said that his findings would be consistent if no crime had been committed.
Detective Gary Stevens of the Cortez Police Department also testified on Tuesday. He led the investigation, which resulted in a multiple-count indictment of both sex and drug charges against Allmon, 55, of Cortez.
Stevens never interviewed the alleged victim or the eyewitness, but observed a social worker conduct forensic interviews of both girls. A routine procedure in child sex assault cases, a forensics interview includes questions to determine a child’s mental capacity and understanding.
A jury of 14, including two alternates, was selected last week from an original pool of 400 to hear evidence in the case. If convicted, Allmon could receive a life sentence.
Court officials explained that jurors who indicated they were impacted by child sex assault in the past were independently questioned behind closed doors so as to neither embarrass the individual juror or taint the opinions of other perspective jurors. Last week, many jurors were excused from civic duty after saying they had been directly or indirectly impacted by child sexual assault. A couple of jurors were dismissed after revealing they financially supported child advocacy efforts.
Six women and eight men were selected.
In a 15-minute opening statement, Public Defender Kenneth Pace said his client was not guilty, claiming family conflicts left the alleged victim and her sisters neglected, and the children fabricated the allegations for attention.
“Children sometimes lie,” Pace told jurors.
Pace asked jurors to examine the accusations in their full context, and encouraged them not to prejudge his client for a 2008 false imprisonment conviction in New Mexico.
“Look at all the red flags,” he said.
In custody since his arrest, Allmon has appeared in court this week dressed in plain clothes.
In his 10-minute opening statement to jurors, Assistant District Attorney Sean Murray said the defendant was guilty, claiming Allmon molested the girl while watching cartoons together on his bed.
“His hands were inside the girl’s pants,” said Murray.
More than three dozen objections were raised during proceedings on Monday. Public defender Amy R. Smith claimed that prosecutors were “reading grand jury testimony into evidence.” She requested a mistrial after Chief District Court Judge Doug Walker admonished her in front of the jury.
“The court’s displeasure with the defense are the repeated objections,” said Walker. “The motion for a mistrial is denied.”
Pace renewed a defense motion for a mistrial after prosecutors rested their case late Wednesday. Pace claimed non-discoverable material from prosecutors prejudiced his ability to launch a proper defense. The court denied the motion.
Late Wednesday, Pace also requested an acquittal from the court, saying prosecutors failed to meet its burden of proof. That motion was also denied.
Defendant remains silent
After being advised by the court late Wednesday, Allmon opted not to testify on his behalf. The defense team subsequently called one witness, a Durango police officer, who testified about false allegations made by the mother of the alleged victim in an unrelated case.
A Montezuma County grand jury indicted Allmon on nine counts of child sexual assault and four drug offenses.