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Jury begins deliberations in Scott Dean's trial on child molestation charges

Ex-commissioner denies allegations of molestation

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 The fate of Scott Dean now rests with a jury.

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Former Columbia County Commissioner Scott Dean testifies in the third day of his trial on child molestation charges.  Jim Blaylock/Staff
Jim Blaylock/Staff
Former Columbia County Commissioner Scott Dean testifies in the third day of his trial on child molestation charges.

After three days of testimony that saw the former Harlem mayor and Columbia County commissioner dispute charges that he sexually molested one of his adopted daughters, jurors began deliberations late Wednesday afternoon, but after an hour they were sent home for the day.

They will resume deliberations at 9:30 a.m. today.

Dean, 42, is charged with two counts of child molestation. He is accused of exposing himself to and inappropriately touching his daughter, one of the five he and his wife adopted from Guatemala in 2008.

Among those testifying Wednesday was the English coach of Dean’s adopted children, who said Dean’s oldest daughter, Marlin, told her that he touched her in her bed at night.

Marlin, who ran away to Mexico just days before her younger sister made allegations against Dean in October 2010, testified that she was referring to her biological father, not Dean.

The accuser, now 17, said from the stand Tuesday that Dean crawled into her bed and touched her vaginal area. Dean and Marlin testified that the accuser lied about the allegations.

Dean’s attorney, Pete Theodocion, said the girl made up the allegations, just after her older sister ran away, to get out of the house. Both girls admit they did not get along with Dean’s wife, Renee, and the accuser testified Tuesday that she wanted to go with Marlin and would do anything to get out of the house.

“She didn’t want to be there. She wanted to be with Marlin,” Theodocion said during his closing arguments Wednesday afternoon. “(The accuser) never made any allegations at all until Marlin left. That’s when the motive came to light, to get out.”

The incidents occurred between Sept. 1, 2008, and Oct. 11, 2010, according to an amended indictment issued in September.

The accuser said she was 15 at the time of the incidents, but could not narrow down a date. If they occurred after her 16th birthday on Sept. 12, 2010, no law was broken, Dean’s lawyer said.

“Sept. 8 is a crime,” Theodocion said. “Sept. 13 is not. She couldn’t tell either way.”

Theodocion also called several people to testify to Dean’s character and trustworthiness, including state Rep. Ben Harbin, R-Evans, who said Dean has a good reputation, as did county Planning Commissioner Bob Newkirk and two longtime friends and colleagues.

Dean resigned his commission seat after being indicted in February.

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Riverman1
84154
Points
Riverman1 12/14/11 - 10:10 pm
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0
What did Wright say on the

What did Wright say on the stand? Geez, that's the most pertinent thing today. What was that all about?

arealist
10
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arealist 12/14/11 - 10:22 pm
0
0
If it occurred after her 16th

If it occurred after her 16th birthday no law was broken? Hows that?

raul
4898
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raul 12/14/11 - 10:28 pm
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@arealist. I am guessing if

@arealist. I am guessing if she were 16, the charge wouldn't be child molestation. It would probably be sexual assault (?)

Willow Bailey
20580
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Willow Bailey 12/14/11 - 10:37 pm
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Try googling, River.

Try googling, River.

augusta citizen
9375
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augusta citizen 12/14/11 - 11:24 pm
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I would like to know what

I would like to know what Ashley Wright said too. I know her and have always had the highest respect for her. Maybe that will be reported.

Riverman1
84154
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Riverman1 12/14/11 - 11:42 pm
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Willow, I Googled Ashley

Willow, I Googled Ashley Wright and get nothing. This is bizarre. Did the judge tell the press not to divulge what Wright said on the stand? I suspect that's the case. Things are way too quiet. All I want if that is the case is for Ms Rowell to inform us. Is that a fair request?

I also find this statement revealing: "The accuser said she was 15 at the time of the incidents, but could not narrow down a date. If they occurred after her 16th birthday on Sept. 12, 2010, no law was broken, Dean’s lawyer said."

Riverman1
84154
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Riverman1 12/14/11 - 11:46 pm
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Valerie Rowell and Barry

Valerie Rowell and Barry Pashcal went silent on Twitter today when Wright took the stand. Before she got there, Barry was remarking what an unusual move it was for the DA to be called as a witness.

wittyno43
18
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wittyno43 12/15/11 - 12:03 am
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0
Riverman,augusta citizen wagt

Riverman,augusta citizen wagt reports this: District Attorney Ashley Wright has been called to the stand on the third day of the Scott Dean trial. Dean, a former Columbia County commissioner, faces child molestation charges. The DA will be asked about a claim made by Dean's oldest adopted daughter Marlin. Marlin told the court that Wright called her a "liar". On the stand, Wright denied calling Marlin Dean a "liar" and said that she'd never interrogated the older daughter. Wright also said she never discussed the child involved in this child molestation case. Wright said she did meet with Marlin after Judge Flanagan said the teen wanted to meet her. Wright described that conversation as "neutral".

Riverman1
84154
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Riverman1 12/15/11 - 12:07 am
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Wittyno43, thanks for the

Wittyno43, thanks for the info. I wonder why none of that was in the story?

716
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Barry Paschal 12/15/11 - 12:15 am
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RM: I didn't "go silent." I

RM: I didn't "go silent." I left the office for a meeting, and then the trial broke for lunch. So the whole thing shut down for a while. All Wright did on the stand was deny what Marlin Dean had said. (And yes, that should have been included. And no, a judge can't prevent a reporter from reporting something that happens in open court.) Glad to know you're following Valerie on Twitter; I think she's done a great job of providing live coverage.

Riverman1
84154
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Riverman1 12/15/11 - 12:16 am
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Thanks for clarifying, Barry.

Thanks for clarifying, Barry. I guess we'll all wait it out now.

wittyno43
18
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wittyno43 12/15/11 - 12:24 am
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I read Theodocian's closing

I read Theodocian's closing argument on wagt's website,and I am really scratching my head at that one.

Is he basically saying that Dean is not guilty because his daughter was of legal age, and even if Dean did do it, there is no evidence to prove it?

Maybe I'm just reading into it too deep, but man, that's what it sounds like to me.

itsanotherday
0
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itsanotherday 12/15/11 - 12:50 am
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My Two Cents: From what I've
Unpublished

My Two Cents: From what I've read in these comments sections, some people are more than willing to convict and ruin someone on hearsay, so I am left scratching my head, just like others.

itsanotherday
0
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itsanotherday 12/15/11 - 12:53 am
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0
"@arealist. I am guessing if
Unpublished

"@arealist. I am guessing if she were 16, the charge wouldn't be child molestation. It would probably be sexual assault (?)"

Interesting question. Maybe a different standard of evidence as well?

itsanotherday
0
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itsanotherday 12/15/11 - 01:06 am
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One more comment. These "he
Unpublished

One more comment. These "he said she said" situations require the wisdom of Solomon. I have a friend who married a woman with a daughter. They eventually divorced and during that process the teenage daughter walked in on my friend as he was going from shower to clothes in the bedroom. He covered, she left, but mom made a big deal of it and it became an accusation.
He was eventually exonerated, but it was gut wrenching for the family to deal with the accusations. He now has an amicable relationship with the ex-step daughter, but the ex- wife has repeatedly tried to suck him dry until a sensible judge put a stop to it.
I don't know what to believe in the Dean case, but there are enough red flags to give one reasonable doubt.

Willow Bailey
20580
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Willow Bailey 12/15/11 - 01:12 am
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Yes , sadly, either way.

Yes , sadly, either way.

arkeeper
9
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arkeeper 12/15/11 - 05:02 am
0
0
I have a friend serving 25

I have a friend serving 25 yrs with no chance for parole for almost the same exact scenario except the "child" involved was 18 yrs old at the time. Wait until I tell him he will spend the next 25 yrs in jail for not breaking the law. Gee- that sure is a new twist on things!

Dixieman
15013
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Dixieman 12/15/11 - 05:08 am
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0
Legal logic: Guy loans his

Legal logic: Guy loans his cooking pot to neighbor and gets it back cracked so he sues neighbor. Neighbor hires lawyer who files three defenses:
1. Neighbor never borrowed pot.
2. And it was cracked when he received it.
3. And he returned it in perfect condition.

augusta citizen
9375
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augusta citizen 12/15/11 - 07:06 am
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itsanotherday, I have heard

itsanotherday, I have heard of situations similar to what your friend went through, so unfair. Some people will say anything to hurt someone they're angry with, just awful.

Riverman1
84154
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Riverman1 12/15/11 - 07:10 am
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"The accuser said she was 15

"The accuser said she was 15 at the time of the incidents, but could not narrow down a date. If they occurred after her 16th birthday on Sept. 12, 2010, no law was broken, Dean’s lawyer said."

Common sense logic: If I were on the jury and the lawyer told me that, I'd throw the book at him just on general principles. Even if she had turned 16, some things transcend.

Riverman1
84154
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Riverman1 12/15/11 - 07:18 am
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0
We kind of skipped over the

We kind of skipped over the District Attorney, Ashley Wright, taking the stand for the prosecution and putting Marlin's whole story up for question. According to our DA, Ms. Wright, Marlin told some serious lies on the stand.

That was the big surprise maneuver that will get Dean convicted when the jury considers the whole picture. Rarely will a trustworthy public official such as Ms. Wright commit herself that way. We know we can believe her.

Riverman1
84154
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Riverman1 12/15/11 - 07:29 am
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Having Ms. Wright testify to

Having Ms. Wright testify to the truth of what Marlin said was simply a beautiful maneuver by the prosecutor that I'm sure was well thought out in advance. It must have stunned criminal trial lawyer Pete Theodocion like a criminal being zapped with a Tazer by a police officer.

THAT was the surprise prosecution move that had been rumored to be coming. Perfect strategy that proves the skill and effectiveness of our DA's office.

I'm sure the jury will consider the development this morning as they continue to deliberate. We are all with the jury as they represent all of us in this horrendous matter. It's not easy, we all realize.

mll
665
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mll 12/15/11 - 08:40 am
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What AW actually said in

What AW actually said in court was that 'yes' her comments could have been misconstrued or misinterpreted by Marlin. While she never intended to call Marlin a liar- her commentscould have been misunderstood.

Riverman1
84154
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Riverman1 12/15/11 - 09:30 am
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MLL, I'm sure that's why the

MLL, I'm sure that's why the prosecutor called Ms. Wright to the stand. Smile.

I like this quote above:
"Marlin told the court that Wright called her a "liar". On the stand, Wright denied calling Marlin Dean a "liar" and said that she'd never interrogated the older daughter."

Now someone is not telling the truth in my rudimentary way of looking at things. Guess who the jury believes.

JRC2024
8888
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JRC2024 12/15/11 - 10:05 am
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itsanotherday I agree with

itsanotherday I agree with you. I could never convict on hearsay and especially since the other daughter said she lied. Too much doubt for me. And as far as bringing in someone from WV when he was 14-What boy at that age didn't try and what girl didn't know they would?
That would have been just smoke and mirrors to me. I wish I had had the time to go listen to the trial so I am just speaking from what I read above.

Riverman1
84154
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Riverman1 12/15/11 - 10:34 am
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Barry, about me following

Barry, about me following along on twitter, I actually got a call from someone in a state office full of attorneys in Macon who were following along attentively. This case has drawn wide attention. So I found out y'all were doing it in a round about way. I guess I just missed it here.

InChristLove
22473
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InChristLove 12/15/11 - 10:36 am
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0
If someone tells me I'm not

If someone tells me I'm not being truthful, in my estimation you are calling me a liar, although you would be correct by saying "I did not call her/him a liar". If you and I have a conversation and you ask a few question, in my mind you are interrogating me, but you could say you never interrogated me because the questions were asked unofficially.

Easy play on words where you can justify yourself as telling the truth.

raul
4898
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raul 12/15/11 - 10:38 am
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0
I predict a hung jury.

I predict a hung jury.

Riverman1
84154
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Riverman1 12/15/11 - 10:51 am
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Raul, dang, I'm not sure all

Raul, dang, I'm not sure all of us can stand another trial.

Riverman1
84154
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Riverman1 12/15/11 - 10:54 am
0
0
I think juries that decide on

I think juries that decide on a verdict early in the morning tend to be tougher. After lunch when their blood sugars have risen and they need a nap, they're far more lenient.

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