N.M. Man Found Not Guilty
Defendant Joseph Kipling Norris, 31, of 362 Madison Rd., New Martinsville, was found not guilty on both counts of first degree of sexual assault and was released from his bond. The trial is being heard before Judge David W. Hummel.
Norris, represented by Attorney Brett Ferro, was indicted by the January 2015 grand jury, charging him with two counts of sexual assault in the first degree. Norris was later charged by the May 2015 grand jury, with two counts of failure to appear on felony bail. Monday’s trial dealt with the January 2015 charges which allegedly occurred in early August of 2014.
Several witnesses took the stand on behalf of the state, the first being Detective Donnie Harris of the New Martinsville Police Department. Detective Harris testified that he interviewed Norris on Sept. 23, 2014. Norris was not under arrest when interviewed by Harris; Harris further stated Norris wasn’t placed under arrest after the interview. Harris said Norris did not ask for anything that he didn’t receive, in regards to a drink or a bathroom break. Harris also said Norris’s demeanor was “somewhat jittery, but pretty much normal.”
Harris testified that Norris had told him that he had stayed at the victim’s mother’s residence overnight.
The detective said Norris had told him that he was not alone with the child except for one occasion when he took her for a walk.
The victim’s mother in the case reported, while on the stand, that Norris was her ex-boyfriend’s brother. She said he did stay at her home for a few nights. The mother said her daughter made a statement regarding Norris the same day the alleged offense occurred. The mother said as soon as her daughter had told her what happened, she took her to the ER. After the alleged victim was examined, she then spoke to Child Protective Services.
Teresa Gaiser, an ER Nurse, at Wetzel County Hospital, also took the stand on behalf of the state.
Gaiser testified to examining the alleged victim. Gaiser said the alleged victim had said she had been inappropriately touched by her mom’s boyfriend’s brother. Gaiser further testified that the alleged victim had further reported that Norris had made additional inappropriate contact with her.
Gaiser testified that upon examining the victim, there were some visible signs of possible sexual contact.
“I don’t know whether she said she was in any distress, but she appeared fine,” Gaiser said.
The alleged victim also took the stand, admitting Norris had had inappropriate contact with her. She was able to circle the area on an anatomical drawing to show where Norris had made contact.
The alleged victim’s mother was recalled to take the stand and reiterated what her daughter had repeatedly said concerning Norris, relating to Norris’ inappropriate touching of the victim, as well as further inappropriate contact he had made.
Ferro asked the mother if she had ever told Norris why she wanted him to stay away from her home. The mother responded that her boyfriend had told her that Norris already knew because he had told him.
Two witnesses testified on behalf of the defense, the first being a friend of Norris.’ The friend testified she has known Norris for a little over a year. She said Norris has been around her children and there have not been any issues. Furthermore, she said she would allow Norris to watch her kids.
Norris’ ex-girlfriend then took the stand. She said she dated him from approximately 2011 to 2015. She said she met the victim’s mother on a couple of different occasions when she was with Norris. She said not to her knowledge, did any altercation happen between Norris and the alleged victim’s mother. She testified that she never saw the alleged victim when she visited.
Norris testified that the alleged victim’s bedroom was in close proximity to her mother’s bedroom, which was opposite of what the mother indicated. Norris said there were three bedrooms in the house and the alleged victim’s bedroom was next to a bathroom beside her mother’s bedroom. Norris then drew an outline of the home for the jury.
Norris said he failed to appear in court because he was “afraid to go to jail.”
“I don’t know,” Norris said. “I’m not sure. Whether her mother said it was me, or it actually ever happened to her or not, it’s not me. I’m not saying it didn’t happen to her. It wasn’t me. I hope nothing happened to her. I pray nothing happened to her. I’ve been with somebody who went through that growing up, in their childhood . . .I know some one like that . . .Being with her, I understand what state of mind it would put somebody in, what effect it has on somebody. Other than that, the obvious reason it is just disgusting it. I just . . . there is no way . . . It wasn’t me.”