MOBILE, Alabama - The prosecution and defense
have rested in the case of a former Chickasaw Police Officer. Bob Ingle
is accused of raping his step-daughter, Rebecca McEvoy.
McEvoy, who was ten years old when she told her best friend she had
been abused by her stepfather, was killed in an unrelated car crash in
January 2008. Since her death, Ingle's attorneys have fought to have
the case dismissed based on what they say is his constitutional right
to confront his accuser.
The trial, which has been delayed at least six times over the past two
years, began with Assistant District Attorney Ella Byrd telling jurors
they would hear the words of Rebecca through the testimony of her
friend, her sister, a doctor and a nurse.
During his opening statement, defense attorney Michael Harbin
repeatedly reminded jurors Ingle is presumed innocent. The soft-spoken
attorney read his opening statement from behind a podium saying
prosecutors have to prove their case with "hard, believable, credible
evidence." "Don't convict on suspicion. Don't convict on emotion," said
Circuit Court Judge Michael Youngpeter granted a motion to suppress
testimony in the trial, not allowing testimony about what Rebecca said
during the evidence gathering process. "This case is a little different
than other cases like this," said Byrd, who told reporters outside the
courtroom that the restrictions on the evidence made this case
Everyone, except the attorneys, jurors and court staff, were asked to
leave the courtroom during the testimony of Rebecca's young friend.
Byrd told reporters the judge's decision to vacate the courtroom was
based on the age of the witness.
The most emotional testimony of the day came from Rebecca's sister,
Nina Tucker, who testified in December 2006 Rebecca also told her about
the rape. Tucker, 25, said while Rebecca was riding with her in the
car, Rebecca told her something bad had happened. Tucker testified
Rebecca did not want to tell her exactly what happened because she
didn't want to say a "bad word." Tucker testified she then gaver her
sister a piece of paper and a pen and Rebecca agreed to write what
happened. She wrote the word "sex," according to Tucker's testimony.
Tucker, who fought back tears throughout her testimony, said the next
day she took Rebecca to USA Children's and Women's to be examined by a
doctor and a nurse. At the hospital, Tucker says Rebecca was given a
drawing of the human body, and she was asked to show the doctor where
she was touched.
Byrd also asked Tucker about her relationship with a boyfriend she met
on the Internet. Tucker testified she bought Daniel Watts, who lived in
California, a plane ticket to fly to Alabama. Tucker acknowledged Watts
had committed an "unregisterable sex offense" involving a 16 year old
girl when he was 19, but she said Rebecca was never left alone with him.
Tucker, who mentioned during her testimony that she was also sexually
abused as a child, answered questions about the abuse on
cross-examination. Harbin asked Tucker if the abuse she suffered was
similar to the abuse she alleges her sister endured. Tucker said it was
not. Tucker testified there was not "penetration" in her own abuse.
Dr. James Hanley, the doctor who examined Rebecca, testified the child
had "healing abrasions" in her private area. Dr. Hanley, who said DNA
was not collected because Rebecca said the abuse happened more than 72
hours previously, testified the injuries were consistent with
penetration and sexual abuse. On cross examination, Hanley acknowledged
the injury could have been caused by an object, but he said it was not
Rebecca's biological father, her mother and Sgt. Leroy Smith of the Saraland Police Department also took the stand Tuesday.
Before the trial began Tuesday, Bob Ingle, who faces life in prison if
he's convicted, turned down a plea deal, but prosecutors would not
disclose the terms of the deal.