The William Wilder trial came to a close Tuesday, and ended with a hung jury. Jury deliberations began at 2 p.m. Tuesday and lasted until around 8:30 p.m. before the foreman reported that they could not reach a verdict. The retrial date has been set for Feb. 5, 2013.
The defense closed its case by calling three witnesses to the stand: the male juvenile, Rachel Wilder (Wilder’s current wife) and alleged victim one. The male juvenile testified that he had been present when alleged victim one and Rachel had conversations with each other over the phone.
He stated that alleged victim one would speak with Rachel whenever he spoke with her on the phone. He also said the two had met once face to face, but very little was said.
During cross-examination, Commonwealth Attorney Karen Greene Blondell made reference to the juvenile’s last name. In earlier testimony, he made claims that his name was changed in Laurel County. Blondell stated that the clerk’s office in London had no record of his name being changed. He replied that the schools in Laurel County has records of the name change.
When called to the stand, Rachel testified that her husband has a birthmark in a private area that has been there since their first marriage in 1995, and that it is very visible.
During cross-examination, she also testified that Wilder has a mark on his upper left thigh that is only visible when he is not wearing pants. This mark is different than the previously mentioned birthmark.
Blondell noted Wilder has five biological children and only has a relationship with his two biological daughters. She also noted that he started having a relationship with his son in 2009.
Alleged victim one was the final witness called by the defense. She testified about an interview she had with Tracy Miller, at which time she told Miller that she was raped while the mother was at work, and that it occurred daily.
She added that Wilder was the only father she knew, which was the reason she did not want him to get in trouble.
When asked, the alleged victim said she found out Wilder was going to leave her mother about two weeks before she mentioned the abuse. She testified that she was not upset to hear the news that they were separating and did not feel abandoned by him.
During cross-examination by Blondell, she stated she found out about the alleged abuse of victim two because Wilder told her about it. She also mentioned the mark on Wilder’s upper left thigh.
In re-direct, defense attorney James Hodge questioned her about the mark on Wilder’s private area. She said she did not notice it.
In his closing statements, Hodge focused on several key points. One was the timing of the alleged abuse. Alleged victim one testified the abuse happened for six years without any lapse in the activity. Hodge pointed out that Wilder worked several different shifts throughout the time of the alleged abuse.
“You heard (the mother of victim one and two) testify that she would leave after (Wilder) left in the morning and you heard her say that she would get home before he got home in the morning,” said Hodge. “There was no time during that period … where he could have been there to hurt her.”
Hodge stated alleged victim one told Beth Shaw that Wilder did not try anything when the male juvenile was there. Hodge pointed out that the male juvenile stayed at the house for a year, yet she still claims there was no time when the abuse stopped.
He pointed out that the mother claimed to be a light sleeper. At that time he also mentioned that Wilder was accused of taking alleged victim one across the house to the laundry room without waking the mother. Hodge said it was hard to believe that Wilder was never caught.
Hodge also focused on the fact alleged victim one still wanted to go places with Wilder even though this abuse was allegedly still occurring. Hodge said that Jackie Crawford, the doctor that gave alleged victim one the exam, made a statement that there was no DNA evidence to connect Wilder to the scaring that took place.
In the prosecution’s closing statements, Blondell focused on the motive. Blondell asked the jury several times throughout her closing statement what motive the girls had for lying. She said alleged victim three never came back to Bell County after her allegations were made until the trial took place. Blondell once again asked the jury why she would lie.
Blondell asked the jury why P.C. Green would lie about hearing the male juvenile tell Wilder that he knew he committed the alleged acts.
The state also focused on the character of Wilder. Blondell pointed out that Wilder had five marriages to four women before he reached 40-years-old. She also pointed out that he had five biological children and only had a relationship with his two biological daughters.
Blondell took the jury back through each of the alleged events including the bedroom incident with alleged victim two and the alleged rape and sodomy of alleged victim one. Blondell also went through each of the charges with the jury one-by-one, describing the meaning for each one.
Blondell ended her statements by showing pictures of the alleged victims at the age when the alleged abuse occurred.
The verdict for the trial was not received by press time.
Anthony Cloud is a staff writer for the Middlesboro Daily News. He can be contacted via email at email@example.com.