Bodenweiser's Fate in Hands of Jury - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Bodenweiser's Fate in Hands of Jury

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GEORGETOWN, Del. - The fate of Eric Bodenweiser, the former state senate candidate accused of molesting a young boy in the '80s, now lies entirely in the hands of 12 jury members. After nearly three weeks of trial, the testimony has ended, and the jury has started to deliberate. 

At approximately 5:30 Friday evening, the jury announced they would terminate their discussion until Monday morning at 9:00 at the Georgetown courthouse. 

Before jury deliberation got underway, the attorneys from both sides delivered their closing arguments. State Attorney John Donahue went first, followed by Eric Mooney from the defense. State Attorney David Hume then finished off the closing arguments. 

State Attorney John Donahue: 

Donahue began by reiterating just how painful the sexual acts had been for the alleged victim. 

"He said it felt like he was being cut by a razor blade," he said to the jury. 

He then proceeded to explain what these alleged events did to the young boy's mental state. 

"These are the memories (he) has to live with," he said. "He lived with them by burying them."

Donahue said that more than 25 years later, the accuser is now trying to put everything together. He said that this long time since the abuse makes his contradictions understandable. 

"These events run together," he said. 

Despite certain inconsistencies, Donahue said that the accuser's general story of abuse has stayed the same. 

"He observed it," Donahue said. "He lived it -- all the sexual abuse -- at the hands of the defendant." 

Donahue then started speaking about Bodenweiser's alleged confession to Duane Smith, his friend and pastor from the Sussex County Bible Church. 

He read notes provided by the pastor, in which he said the following: 

"I did it. I'm guilty. There's some there, there." 

The defense has argued that the pastor simply did not understand what Bodenweiser was confessing to. They have argued that Bodenweiser was admitting to providing pornographic videos to the accuser. Bodenweiser maintains that he at no point confessed to any sexual act to the pastor. 

On Thursday Bodenweiser took the stand, telling the jury that he came back to his home one day to find the accuser in his bedroom looking at a playboy. He said at first he sent the boy home, but eventually allowed him to watch the X-rated films in his living room. Bodenweiser testified that he allowed the boy to do so three or four times, before deciding against it. 

Donahue said that this story was foolish. 

"Ladies and gentlemen, it just doesn't make sense," he said. 

Later he theorized what was really going on. 

"He showed (him) pornography, showed him affection with the goal to get sexual gratification," he said. 

Defense Attorney Eric Mooney: 

Bodenweiser's attorney Eric Mooney painted a very different picture of what happened between 1987 and 1994. He started off his closing arguments by telling a story about a traumatic event of his own. 

"We've all had traumatic experiences in our lives," he said. 

He told a story about watching his dog Tinker get run over by a white van when he was a young boy. He then told the story again, saying the dog was hit by a speeding motorcycle. He then told the story a third time, saying a red corvette had crashed into his dog. He said it would be impossible for him to forget facts about such a traumatic case, saying that the same could be said about the accuser's story. 

He then jumped into more substantive arguments, focusing on the details of the case. He went through the five separate incidents of molestation, pointing out inconsistencies with each. 

Incident one has been referred to as the "bathroom incident," where the defendant has alleged that he was forced to engage in oral sex in two locations in the home. This incident has lead to two counts of unlawful sexual intercourse and one count of unlawful sexual contact. 

In October of 2012, the accuser told the interviewer that he was never touched in the bathroom, and was forced to do the acts in the living room. Meanwhile in May, he said he was forced to do the sexual act in the bathroom and not the living room. On the stand, he alleged that he did the sexual acts in both the bathroom and the living room. 

He pointed out similar inconsistencies with each of the four other incidents. 

At one point, Mooney pulled out a giant board, which said in bold letters "where is the proof?" He spoke to the jury about various situations where the accuser had in his opinion lied on the stand. He said that the accuser had lied in the interviews with Det. John King from the Delaware State Police as well. 

"Don't feel bad if you believed (the accuser)," he said. "Because you know what. Detective King did too." 

State Attorney David Hume: 

State Attorney David Hume got a chance to respond to Mooney before deliberation began, and he spoke for nearly an hour to the jury. To begin, he read a direct quote from the pastor. 

"'Eric told me oral sex happened in his house,' " he said reading the quotation. "Couldn't be any clearer than that." 

He then responded to Mooney's story about Tinker, saying it wasn't a fair analogy. 

"Tinker would need to get hit over and over again..." he said "That's what happened to (the accuser). Over and over and over again." 

He then referred to Bodenweiser's testimony about the pornography incident with the accuser, saying that Mooney had skipped over the more unbelievable parts. 

"Mr. Mooney glossed over the rest of the story," he said. "And you want to know why? Cause the rest of that story is ridiculous." 

He said that there was no logical reason why Bodenweiser would have shown the young boy pornographic movies, if it was not as a "gateway"  to sexual gratification. He argued that the years of alleged sexual abuse had left the accuser severely damaged, mentally. 

"The person who came out of 1987, 1988, 1989 was different," he said. "And we'll never know who that 1987 (boy) could have been."

He asked the jury to find Bodenweiser guilty, asking them not to feel sympathy for the defendant. 

"He made his own luck," he said. "And it's bad." 

The jury will return to deliberate on Monday at the Sussex County Courthouse. For each of the ten counts of Unlawful Sexual Intercourse, the jury will decide between guilty, not guilty, or they can give the verdict of guilty of a lesser charge in the 3rd degree. For each of the five counts of Unlawful Sexual Contact, the jury will decide between guilty or not guilty. 
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