Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Guilty verdict returned in child abuse case

FLEMINGSBURG | It took a Fleming County jury 38 minutes to return a verdict of guilty for Troy Gilbert on Tuesday morning. Gilbert, 33, of Ewing, was on trial for first-degree criminal abuse for abusing his 2-year-old daughter. The charges stem from November 2011. According to indictments handed down on Jan. 6, Gilbert and his wife, Andrea Alcorn, 27, struck the child “about her face, head, back and buttocks with (their) hands and feet and/or dragged the child by her hair.” Alcorn entered a guilty plea to the same charge earlier this year. She will be sentenced Friday. The four children in the home were placed in protective custody and taken to the hospital by social service personnel. The trial began Monday morning with jury selection, opening statements and numerous witnesses on behalf of Gilbert and the commonwealth. The prosecution showed the jury two photographs of the child, taken at the time of arrest that showed the child badly bruised all over. He also asked jurors to consider the fact that Gilbert ran from police when they arrived at his home on the day the abuse happened. The first witness called to the stand was Clay Barber, the social worker who was called to the home in November. Barber said he had been called by 911 dispatch to the home of Gilbert and Alcorn on November 24 after two phones calls alleging the child was covered in bruises. When he arrived at the home, he was greeted by Alcorn, who allowed him to see the child and the bruises. Alcorn said the child had fallen down the steps of a neighbor's house, he said. After a survey of the home and speaking with Alcorn, Barber called for law enforcement assistance and State Trooper Jared Wagner arrived. The next witness was Dr. William Stewart, from the Fleming County Emergency Medical Unit. Williams testified that the child "had multiple bruises; head to foot, in various stages of resolution; around the nose, the eyes, and the left ear." According to Williams, the injuries were not consistent with falling down stairs. The injuries also showed significant force and the bruise on the child's forehead was consistent with being dragged. Angela Saunders Alcorn testified that Andrea Alcorn also told her the child had fallen down the stairs. Angela Alcorn said she asked Andrea Alcorn to take the child to the hospital, but the mother refused. Angela Alcorn also said Andrea Alcorn was unconcerned with the child and took it upon herself to put ice on the child's head. Angela said Elizabeth, the oldest child of Andrea Alcorn, told her the child had not fallen down the steps, but her mommy "dragged (the child) through the house and beat her." Andrea Alcorn took the stand next and immediately said she was concerned with her child's well being and she was the one who put the ice on the child. She also said she was afraid to take her child to the hospital because of what they would think. Andrea Alcorn testified that Barber showed up at her home at approximately 10 a.m., on the Nov. 25. She also told the court that she had told Barber the child had fallen down the stairs. She admitted to spanking the child, but said Gilbert had taken the child into the bathroom and she heard slaps coming from inside, but did not see it. She also heard the child crying. The prosecution called Elizabeth Buchanan to testify about what she remembered from November. She said that she remembered her sister getting hurt and her mommy taking (the child) into the bathroom. Gilbert was inside the bathroom. She heard slapping and when (the child) came out there a knot on (the child's) head. Deputy Sheriff Jerry Wagner was the last witness for the prosecution. He testified that he arrived at the home at approximately 3:30 p.m., and the child ran into his arms. He said he could not put the child down and had to carry her everywhere he went because she was scared to go back inside the house. He testified that after seeing the child and speaking with the neighbors and children he arrested Alcorn and took the children into protective custody, as Gilbert had fled the scene before Wagner arrived. Bob Hengge, the defense attorney, began his statement with a story about when he was a child and he ran from the police simply because he was scared, even though he had not committed a crime. He asked the jurors to keep that in mind when listening to the prosecution. The defense argued that Andrea Alcorn had lied to everyone about what really happened and never accused Gilbert of abusing the child until after she was arrested. Closing arguments were given on Tuesday morning. Bob Hengge, Gilbert's defense attorney focused on the testimony of Elizabeth Buchanan, Alcorn's oldest daughter. He said Elizabeth's testimony should be looked at as a child under duress, as she was not clear in what actually happened the day the abuse occurred. Hengge also said Buchanan had changed her story from Alcorn committing the abuse to Gilbert committing the abuse, to both parties being involved. Hengge then moved on to Alcorn's testimony. He claimed she was only testifying against Gilbert for a reduced sentence; as she had written letters to Gilbert while they were incarcerated, professing her love for him. According to Hengge, Alcorn had also given an unreliable testimony, because she had initially lied to everyone, saying the child had only fallen down the steps and no abuse had occurred. The prosecution then gave its closing arguments. Gary Adkins, assistant commonwealth's attorney, began with Buchanan's testimony. He agreed she had been shaken up, after being passed around to multiple homes, but she always told the truth when asked directly about the abuse. Adkins then went on to defend Alcorn's testimony, saying she only minimized what happened to her child out of fear of Gilbert. Adkins finished his arguments by asking jurors to use common sense in the case and convict Gilbert. The juror left the room at 11:12 a.m., and returned at 11:50, with a verdict of guilty. The defense requested the jury recommend the minimum sentence for Gilbert and the prosecution only asked the jury give a reasonable sentence for the level of abuse. Alcorn, who had been sitting anxiously awaiting the verdict, had to be carried out of the courtroom when the verdict was given. Gilbert will face formal sentencing September 7. Copyright 2012 Ledger Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Posted in Local on Tuesday, July 17, 2012 10:00 pm Updated: 11:37 am. | Tags: Troy Gilbert, Andrea Alcorn, Bob Hengge, Gary Adkins, Fleming County,
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