After an hour of deliberations and days of testimony, the jury found a man charged with indecency with a child to be not guilty on Tuesday in the 40th Judicial District Court of Ellis County.
Once judge Bob Carroll read the verdict, Jeremy Michael Cates hugged his attorney Mark Griffith as the moment unfolded in the courtroom.
Griffith stated he was proud of the outcome reached by the jury in such a complex case.
“It was absolutely just. I have tried almost 300 jury trials, and I have never seen so much corruption, coaching, and unethical behavior by the state in any trial that I have ever tried before,” Griffith said. “I am proud of this jury.”
In her closing arguments Lindy Beaty, Ellis County and District Attorney’s Office Chief Felony Prosecutor for the 40th Judicial District Court, told the jury it was ridiculous for the victim to lie about the incident.
“You each are going to have to believe that (the victim) told a series of lies in her all details,” Beaty asked. “You have to decide she decided that her life was going too well and had to add a little drama.”
Beaty stated common logic should confirm the validity of the claims and that details of sexual contact are not created out of thin air.
Following Beaty, Griffith addressed the jury and stated the case presented by the district attorney’s office was built upon falsehoods.
“Let's talk about how Ms. Beaty said that (the victim’s) testimony has been constant. She stood right up there and said she is a liar,” Griffith said. “She admitted that the prosecution coached her. You don’t coach witnesses.”
Griffith stated this had not been a “prosecution” but a “persecution of a good man.”
Habon Muhammad, assistant county and district attorney, told the jury the inconsistencies in the testimony from the victim are from the stress of the case.
“What did (the victim) tell you? She tells you that she gets nervous. Now she is in a courtroom with all of her family members,” Muhammad said. “(The victim's) testimony is a bit of train wreck, but look for it as it is. Go back and look at it and remember that she is a child and has a hard time verbalizing it.”
Muhammad showed the jury a letter the victim wrote to tell her family about what she claimed had happened. She noted it “was the first cry for help.”
Griffith told the jury Cates will never get his life back but encouraged them to make the right decision so he could find those pieces again.
“Let's give him the chance to find them and put his life back together if he can,” Griffith said.