The trial of Johnny Ray Conley (mugshot not available arrest occurred in Delta County), a Delta County man accused of four counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child, continued Thursday in the Eighth Judicial District Court in Sulphur Springs, with jurors still deliberating after 5:30 p.m. Oct. 17.
The offenses were alleged to have occurred in or around Aug. 1, Sept. 1, Oct. 1 and Nov. 1, 2001, when the alleged victim was 7-8 years old.
The trial was moved to Hopkins County, with jury selection on Monday in the 8th Judicial District Court in Sulphur Springs. The trial got under way on Tuesday morning.
Assistant District Attorney Matt Harris is the lead prosecutor on the case, assisted by ADA Jodi Cox. Prosecutors wrapped up their witnesses and rested on Wednesday. Defense attorney Michael Mosher presented witnesses on Thursday morning. Conley’s wife was among the witnesses who testified Thursday morning.
The jury was recessed at about 11:30 a.m. Thursday for lunch.
When Eighth Judicial District Judge Eddie Northcutt asked the defendant Thursday, outside the presence of the jury, whether he wanted to testify on his behalf, Johnny Ray Conley politely told the judge “no, thank you, your honor.”
Both sides gave closing arguments when court resumed shortly after 1 p.m.
Harris in his closing arguments reminded the jury of testimony by multiple witnesses claiming other acts by Conley. He said that while those allegations aren’t on trial, the jury can consider them as part of his “character” when making their decision of guilt or innocence on the four aggravated sexual assault of a child charges.
As for the alleged victim in the case, Harris argued she “told the truth because he did it to her. He is guilty. He did those things.”
Mosher in his closing statements asked the jury to consider “discrepancies” in the alleged victim’s testimony. He contended that none of alleged victim’s immediate family, according to testimony, ever saw Conley commit the acts he is accused of, and her mother and siblings were around most of the time when she was around Conley in 2001. Mosher argued that bringing in the “extraneous things” to which other witnesses testified “make no sense here.”
Mosher asked the jury to look at the charges of aggravated sexual assault of a child and not find Conley guilty.
The nine-woman, three-man jury began deliberating around 3 p.m. and was still deliberating in the jury room at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.