GUILTY

For­mer deputy con­victed of child mo­lesta­tion

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - DAR­RYL WELCH dwelch@cov­news.com

A New­ton County Su­pe­rior Court jury de­lib­er­ated into the evening Fri­day be­fore find­ing a for­mer sher­iff’s deputy guilty of child mo­lesta­tion.

Daniel McGin­nis, 32, was ac­cused of im­prop­erly touch­ing a child mul­ti­ple times be­tween 2007 and 2011. He was ar­rested in 2014 af­ter the vic- tim came for­ward.

Af­ter be­ing se­lected Mon­day af­ter­noon, ju­rors lis­tened to two full days of tes­ti­mony start­ing Thurs­day morn­ing. The tes­ti­mony in­cluded graphic de­scrip­tions of abuse from the vic­tim. The 10 women and two men de­lib­er­ated just over three hours be­fore con­vict­ing McGin­nis of ag­gra­vated child mo­lesta­tion, in­cest and mul­ti­ple counts of child mo­lesta­tion.

In his clos­ing ar­gu­ment, de­fense at­tor­ney David LaMalva re­minded ju­rors about the lack of phys­i­cal ev­i­dence in the case.

“There’s not one shred of phys­i­cal ev­i­dence,” he said. “Words are all you’re go­ing to have.”

He also told ju­rors that the prose­cu­tion had failed to prove the case against McGin­nis.

“The State has fallen woe­fully short of prov­ing a crime,” he said.

In her clos­ing ar­gu­ment, New­ton County As­sis­tant District At­tor­ney Tabitha Rogers read each charge and told ju­rors that the State had proven ev­ery one, telling them that “a sin­gle wit­ness is enough to es­tab­lish a fact.”

She also urged ju­rors to keep their fo­cus on the vic­tim.

“Don’t let the de­fense dis­tract you,” she said. “You’re smarter than that.”

As Rogers an­nounced the ver­dict, McGin­nis looked briefly at his fam­ily and friends seated be­hind him, then stared straight ahead. Af­ter Al­covy Cir­cuit Judge Ho­race J. John­son or­dered him taken into cus­tody, he fell briefly as he was be­ing led away by deputies.

John­son said McGin­nis will be sen­tenced at a later date.

McGin­nis

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