New Boston, Texas–A jury of six men and six women is expected to return to the Bowie County courthouse Thursday morning to continue deliberations in a child sex abuse trial.
Daniel Mooneyham, 33, is accused of inappropriately touching a 9-year-old relative Oct. 2, 2014, at her family’s home in Hooks, Texas. The jury heard a full day of testimony and closing arguments Wednesday before deliberating for about three hours. The jury was released Wednesday evening by 202nd District Judge John Tidwell with instructions to return Thursday morning to continue deliberations.
If found guilty, Mooneyham faces two to 20 years in prison. The alleged victim testified Mooneyham called her into a bedroom of her family’s home to play games on his cell phone the night of the alleged abuse. The girl said Mooneyham’s phone did not have any games on it and that he grabbed her leg and threw her on one of her brother’s bunk beds when she started to leave. The girl said Mooneyham touched her sexually on top of her clothes and threatened to harm her if she told anyone afterward, under questioning from Assistant District Attorney Katie Carter.
“He touched me where he wasn’t supposed to,” the girl testified.
Mooneyham testified under questioning from his attorney, Kristian Young of Texarkana, that he “horseplayed” with the alleged victim and her younger siblings the night of the alleged conduct, but denied touching the girl sexually.
A relative of the girl’s step-father, who said he has known Mooneyham for 20 years and thinks of him as a brother, testified that he went to the girl’s parents after seeing a video on Mooneyham’s phone with images of the girl which caused him concern. The man said the girl’s legs were up and he could hear her say Mooneyham was heavy.
The girl’s mother testified she asked her daughter if something had happened with Mooneyham after hearing of the alleged cell phone video. It was then the girl claimed Mooneyham inappropriately touched her and authorities became involved, witnesses testified. A cell phone analyst with the U.S. Secret Service testified he found no video of the girl on the phone but that it could have become unretrievable if it had been deleted.
Young argued in closing remarks that the allegations from the girl stem from the girl’s mother’s and step-father’s dislike of Mooneyham. Carter and First Assistant District Attorney Michael Shepherd argued the girl’s testimony is credible and that Mooneyham can be found guilty on her testimony alone.
The jury was instructed by Tidwell to return to the Bowie County courthouse in New Boston to resume deliberations at 9 a.m. this morning.