Capital Judicial Center

UPDATED: Hatch jury to resume deliberations Monday

Posted:  Friday, November 17, 2017 - 2:00pm
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UPDATED: The jury was sent home for the weekend shortly before 6 p.m. Friday and will resume deliberations Monday morning.

Original post: On Friday, Nov. 17, after closing arguments by the prosecution and the defense and jury instructions by Justice William Stokes, a jury of six men and six women received the case of the State vs. Kenneth Hatch III.

Assistant District Attorney John Risler, in his summation, told the jury that during the trial, the state tried to clarify when events occurred, and that the only criminal activities being tried occurred when the alleged victims were between 14 and 16 years old, or in a couple of counts, younger. He took the extraordinary step of pointing out that due to circumstantial evidence, two of the charges – charges nine and 10, involving a case the witness remembered with driving a drunken man and his dog from one location to another, might have created reasonable doubt based on the court testimony and the weather reports. Risler said acknowledged that the state’s main witness had problems with alcohol and marijuana during the period involved, but that made her more vulnerable than another girl might have been.

Defense attorney Richard Elliott spent his summation discussing various inconsistencies in the testimonies of the alleged victims across multiple interviews and court appearances. Elliott claimed the three alleged victims had an “ax to grind” with Hatch, and acknowledged that the Hatch household was unusual, “taking in strays,” in his words. “This sort of case is dangerous,” he said. “There is no statute of limitations on sexual crimes. You are the only buffer between the state’s case and a conviction that would affect a man’s life and livelihood forever.”

After a short break, Justice William Stokes gave the jury its instructions and read the 22 charges again. “The question of whether a crime was committed is more important than when it occurred, as long as it was possible for the act to have taken place and it occurs within the timeframe provided in the charge,” he said.

The alternates were dismissed, and the case handed over to the jury foreman just before 1 p.m.