After more than three hours of deliberation, a Bowie County jury found a Little Rock man not guilty of sexually abusing a 6-year-old girl in 2013.
Strodney Deron Davis faced as many as 20 years in prison and registration as a sex offender if a jury had convicted him of indecency with a child by contact. A jury of four men and eight women chosen Tuesday listened to two days of testimony before 202nd District Judge Leon Pesek Jr. gave them the case to decide mid-afternoon Thursday.
Davis’ attorney, First Assistant Public Defender Will Williams said he and Davis are grateful for the jury’s service. During the trial and in his closing arguments, Williams emphasized contradictions between what the girl told a forensic interviewer at the Children’s Advocacy Center in Texarkana in July 2013 and what she testified to during the trial this week.
First Assistant District Attorney Michael Shepherd and Assistant District Attorney Kate Carter argued that the differences in the girl’s account of details could be attributed to her age. Williams argued reasonable doubt exists.
The girl, who turned 10 in July, testified that Davis taught her a “handshake,” between June 23 and June 28, 2013, which involved sexual contact. Williams argued that the girl could have seen the behavior on the internet or television.
Carter argued that the girl has remained steadfast in her accusation involving Davis though small details may change. Shepherd held up a drawing the girl made during her interview at the Children’s Advocacy Center which he described as “powerful evidence.”
Numerous defense witnesses testified that Davis has never behaved inappropriately with children. Michael Abrahamson, who coaches for Bryant, Ark., High School, said he doesn’t believe Davis could have violated a child.
“He wasn’t a star player, but he was the ultimate team player,” Abrahamson said. “He worked incredibly hard.”
Abrahamson said Davis was a leader even though he spent a lot of time on the bench. He said Davis was the first to congratulate him and his fellow team mates after a hard-fought match and that his willingness to push himself was “outstanding.”
“I am here because I want to do the right thing,” Abrahamson said. “I don’t believe he’s capable of this. I’m here because this is the right thing to do.”