Jacob Ewing found not guilty on 2 counts of sex with a child

HOLTON — After four hours of deliberations in Jackson County District Court, a 12-person jury on Thursday afternoon came back with not-guilty verdicts for a 22-year-old man accused of two sex crimes involving an underage girl.

 

Family members and supporters of Jacob Ewing wept and hugged each other in the courtroom after the verdict was announced.

Ewing, of Holton, had pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated indecent liberties and aggravated criminal sodomy with a child under 14 years old.

Ewing’s family members and friends who were present when the verdict was read declined to comment as they gathered in a hallway outside the courtroom.

However, Kathleen Ambrosio, Ewing’s defense attorney, told The Topeka Capital-Journal, “I’m overwhelmingly pleased — that’s all I can say.”

When asked about the turning point in Thursday’s closing arguments, Ambrosio said, “I think that my statements were correct. If they parsed through the evidence carefully, they’d realize there wasn’t enough evidence and that he did not do this.”

Moments after the trial ended, special prosecutor Jacqie Spradling said, “I respect the jury’s service and the jury system. So I will accept their verdict.”

Other cases are pending against Ewing, and he remains in custody. After the trial, two Jackson County sheriff’s deputies led Ewing through a door near the judge’s bench at the front of the courtroom.

In the trial that ended Thursday, Ewing was accused of having sex with a girl in 2014 at a rural Holton cemetery when he was 19 and she was 13.

Testimony began Monday and wrapped up Wednesday. Closing arguments were heard from 9:50 to 11:35 a.m. Thursday as Spradling and Ambrosio made impassioned pleas to the jury made up of seven women and five men.

In closing statements, Spradling told jurors they should believe the victim, who is now 16, and find Ewing guilty on both counts, despite some discrepancies on minor points of her story.

“This is a textbook case of sexual assault,” Spradling said, recounting earlier testimony.

“Why in the world would she make this up?” Spradling said. “What does she get out if it? She came forward to report these two things because they happened to her. Why would a 16-year-old do this unless she was the victim of this crime?”

Spradling also noted the victim was in seventh grade at the time of the alleged crimes.

“She’s supposed to be in plays,” Spradling said. “She’s supposed to be singing in the choir. She’s not supposed to be in the cemetery, bent over the hood.”

Spradling also reminded jurors that “sex with a 13-year-old is always illegal.”

Spradling played portions of phone conversations recorded from the Jackson County Jail in which Ewing, as an inmate at the facility, expressed his fear of being sentenced to prison for the rest of his life.

“Probably going to be here for a long time,” Ewing could be heard saying in one of the recorded conversations.

In Ambrosio’s closing statements, she called into question inconsistencies in the victim’s testimony, as well as a lack of evidence presented by the prosecutor.

Ambrosio said the victim “can’t tell a straight story,” instead changing her versions to “what sounded good to her at the time.”

She exhorted jurors to find Ewing not guilty, maintaining that in the previous three days of the trial, the state had failed to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Ewing had committed the crimes.

“There are too many questions and there is too little proof,” Ambrosio told the jury. “This is a serious case. You have an awesome responsibility. You have to go back and parse through all of these details and decide the fate of someone accused of a terrible, terrible crime.”

During Thursday’s court sessions, Ewing sat at a table at the right front of the courtroom next to Ambrosio, facing the judge and jury. He wore a long-sleeved white shirt with a blue tie and black pants. He slowly chewed gum throughout the morning’s proceedings.

After receiving final instructions from Jackson County District Judge Norbert Marek Jr., jurors were ushered to a room to begin deliberating at 11:45 a.m. They came back with their verdict about 4 p.m.

^

Contact reporter Phil Anderson at (785) 295-1195 or @Philreports on Twitter.

Top Tank: Is Your Idea Worth $100,000?
Prosecution calls last witnesses in Day 3 of Jacob Ewing trial, defendant in sodomy of 13-year-old girl
Jacob Ewing’s alleged victim testifies, centering the trial on her believability
Attorneys in much-talked-about Jacob Ewing case struggled to find impartial jurors
Removed GoFundMe not for Jacob C. Ewing’s legal defense, mother says
Special prosecutor requests Jacob Ewing cases be combined
Accused of rape by multiple women, Jacob Ewing pleads not guilty after teenage girl testifies against him
 

More

Tue, 08/22/2017 - 10:58

Police investigating report of man who was robbed at knife-point Tuesday morning in southwest Topeka

Topeka police were investigating a robbery to an individual that occurred Tuesday morning in a work zone on the city’s southwest side.... Read more

Tue, 08/22/2017 - 06:19

Flood Warning issued for the Topeka area, including Jefferson, Shawnee, northern Douglas and southeastern Jackson counties

Heavy rains that resulted in 5 to 8 inches of precipitation in the Topeka area overnight have prompted a Flood Warning until... Read more