Prosecution, defense rest on third day of child sex trial
by Rachel Davis
Feb 21, 2014 | 2277 views | 0 0 comments | 40 40 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Michael Odell Logan
Michael Odell Logan
The prosecution and defense both rested their cases on the third day of the trial of Michael Odell Logan, 34, of Dora. Closing statements in the case will begin at 10 a.m. this morning. The case will be given to the jury following those statements.

Logan is facing two counts of first-degree rape by forcible compulsion, three counts of first-degree sodomy a, one count of sexual abuse of a child less than 12 years old and one count of enticing a child for immoral purposes. The first five charges are Class A felonies, and the last two are Class B and Class C felonies, respectively.

On the final day of testimony, the prosecution began with the victim’s mother, who said she saw a change in her daughter’s behavior about the time the alleged abuse began.

She said her daughter had been a happy child, always laughing and talking, but gradually became angry and lashing out during her second grade year. The mother also said there was a dramatic decrease in her daughter’s grades and behavior during that year.

At the time, she said she consulted the pediatrician about the change and was told that many children begin puberty at about 9 years old so she attributed the changes to that.

She also testified that when her daughter told her about the alleged sexual abuse, she first went to the local police department to fill out a report, then to the Dora Police Department after being told she had to file the report in the area where the alleged offense occurred.

The victim’s sister also took the stand Thursday, describing her sister’s behavior changes and how she became “meaner” during the time of the alleged abuse.

T.S. Boyd principal Kristy Wheeler also took the stand to introduce the victim’s school records.

On cross examination, defense attorney Belinda Weldon asked if the decrease in grades between first and second grade could have been caused by the victim being home schooled between kindergarten and first grade and having to repeat first grade in the school. Wheeler said there was no evidence of home schooling in the school records.

The prosecution then introduced healthcare professionals from After Hours, Family Health Associates and Walker Baptist Medical Center to verify the medical records of the victim. No information was given from those records in court, but they were admitted into evidence.

Leah Belser, forensic interviewer for the Walker County Children’s Advocacy Center and also a counselor with a private practice in Cullman, also took the stand for the prosecution. She had examined the incident/offense report from the original police report and the victim’s school records. She had not interviewed the victim or seen the interview conducted at another advocacy center in the state.

She said the records indicated a “steep decline” to her, but she could not positively say that indicated abuse, but she felt it did indicate extreme stress on the child during that time.

On cross examination, Weldon asked if Belser had any experience with children who have been coached to manufacture stories of abuse. Belser said she had been involved in cases where it was later revealed that the children had been coached and those children usually lack sensory details about the experience — sticking to the details, but never the feelings, smells, tastes or other specifics associated with the alleged abuse.

Weldon also asked about several studies regarding “created memories” or false memories. Belser said she was familiar with them, but not well-versed enough to testify about them.

Following Belser’s testimony, Assistant District Attorney Alana Sewell rested her case.

Weldon then rested her case without calling a single witness.