Courtroom drama leads to John Spaulding's Mistrial - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Courtroom drama leads to John Spaulding's Mistrial

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New developments in the case of a Mercer County man charged with child abuse.

The jury went into deliberation early this afternoon. But after a dramatic turn of events, the judge finally declared a mistrial.

Friday's trial began with both Attorney's presenting to the Judge and jury their very best closing arguments. The District Attorney played an audio recording for the entire courtroom to hear.

The recording was taken during Spaulding's arrest and interrogation. Spaulding clearly told a State Trooper that he had been fully aware that there was child pornography on his laptop.

In the audio recording, John Spaulding was heard saying "there's so much on my laptop you'll want to know about. I have all kinds of kiddie porn on my computer, but I didn't put it there. I knew it was there, I just did not delete it."

Spaulding's attorney, Harold Wolfe, gave his explanation for Spaulding's recording.

"That was taken under very stressful and emotional circumstances. Mr. Spaulding had a lot of events going on in his life that we say impacted the reliability and coercive factor that was involved in anything he would have said during that time period," Wolfe told 59News.

Around noon the case was turned over to the jury and they went into deliberation. Our 59News crews waited outside the courtroom for their decision and for the Judge's verdict for almost 7 hours.

The drama began around 5:45 p.m. when the judge announced that a member of the jury was experiencing chest pains and had an anxiety attack. He told the courtroom because nothing can be reached with only 11 members of the jury, they will now decide whether to mistrial or to get some rest at home and reconvene the deliberation Saturday morning. Finally, at 6:20 p.m. members of the jury were brought out and Circuit Court Judge William Sadler declared a mistrial.

A totally new jury will be selected and will be in the new trial. The date for the status hearing will be determined next week.

 

 

 


 

 

The jury came back without a decision made in the trial of John Spaulding.  Circuit Judge William Sadler declared a mistrial.  A new status hearing will now need to be held.  It is scheduled for next week, but an exact date has not been set.

 

 


 

We're following the child abuse case of John Spaulding who's accused of sexually assaulting and abusing a 3-year-old and 14-year-old.

Many witnesses as well as Spaulding testified in Mercer County Court on Thursday.

Spaulding's ex-girlfriend, Kimberly Cox, has already been convicted on similar charges. Cox was sentenced in January on sexual assault and sexual abuse charges. On Wednesday she testified against Spaulding as part of her plea agreement.

More than 50 "sexually explicit pictures" were shown to the jury of Cox with the children that were under her care. She told the courtroom every picture was made and sent to Spaulding at his request.

Spaulding explained to the court why he believes he is innocent.

"I could have done anything with it if I knew it was on there. I'll tell you the exact same thing I told them when they were over there. If I had known anything was on my computer I promise, you would have never found it," said Spaulding.

Witness after witness told the courtroom Kimberly Cox was almost always in possession of John's computer and his cell phone.  Friends and family close to Spaulding also said Spaulding hardly ever had a password on either of his devices.

Spaulding's mother said she often had access to his computer.

"He wouldn't let me on it if he knew something was on it. I'm a Christian, he would not let his mom see something like that, no, no, no," said Sandra Spaulding.

Long time co-worker of Spaulding, Jerry Shrader, told us on numerous occasions at work he would ask to use Spaulding's cell phone but couldn't, because it was in the possession of Kimberly Cox.

"He would say Kim has it," Shrader said.

"Did that happen often?" asked Assistant Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler.

"It was quite often," Shrader responded.

"So he was at work and she had his phone?" questioned Sitler.

"Yes," answered Shrader.

"Did you ever know her to have John's phone?" said Sitler.

"Yes," answered family friend Tracy Lewis.

"How frequently did that occur?," Sitler said.

"I'm not sure but several times," Lewis said. 

"More than five or less than five?" asked Sitler.

"More than five," answered Lewis.

In a bizarre twist, suspect John Spaulding admitted to having a 9-year relationship with a woman, Anna Barker, that does not exist, that he thought existed. Kimberly Cox made Anna Barker up.

"When he bought Anna an engagement ring and when he got a tattoo on his arm with Anna's name on it, yes we all believed in Anna. Kim is just that good," Sandra Spaulding told the courtroom.

Spaulding explained how he could believe he was in a relationship with a woman he's never met.

"She's supposedly on her way to Charleston to some place called Pasteira. Everything checked out. They were going to take her in for cancer treatment," John Spaulding said.

The trial goes to jury Friday morning. Our 59News crews will be inside the courtroom. We'll bring you a verdict as soon as it's reached.