“It’s not about winning at all costs, it’s about doing what’s right,” Barrett said. “Don’t brand him a felon.”
Swaim responded to Barrett’s closing argument by saying, “I can’t make the defendant a child molester, the defendant’s actions make him a child molester.”
The jury deliberated for two hours and 10 minutes.
Cass Superior II Judge Rick Maughmer presided over Bell’s case.
After the verdict, Swaim said she couldn’t say for sure because she didn’t talk to any jurors, but she thinks it’s possible the verdict had much to do with the instruction in this particular case.
The instruction Swaim referred to was that even if the defendant commits child molest, if he believes the victim is 14 years or older and the belief is reasonable under the circumstances, he must be found not guilty.
Swaim said she disagreed with the instructions, but knew why they were given.
“To me, the law as it stands fails victims,” Swaim said. “ I think the state law needs to be reviewed and I will be following up on it.”
“Mr. Bell and I are very pleased with the not guilty verdict,” Barrett said after the verdict Friday. “He has always maintained his innocence and we are grateful the jury saw that as well. He plans to move forward with his life.”
Amie Sites is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5117 or email@example.com.