Smith County District Judge Jack Skeen Jr. declared a mistrial Friday after a jury failed to reach a verdict in the trial of Russel Inks III.
Inks was accused of touching a 6-year-old girl inappropriately three years ago as she sat on his lap to play computer games.
The girl, who testified on Wednesday, said she told her grandmother, mother and her mother’s boyfriend immediately about the abuse, which allegedly occurred in March 2010.
The family reported the incident to the Whitehouse Police Department quickly after the child told them about it.
Smith County District Attorney Jason Parrish said in his closing statements to the jury that when Inks took the stand in his own defense Thursday, the defendant denied ever touching the now-9-year-old girl, even though he admitted to police during an interview that he touched her “accidentally.”
“A 7-year-old girl looks at her private part as something that is wrong; she said, ‘He touched me on my wrong spot,’” Parrish told the jury.
The prosecutor also talked about when police told Inks they wanted to speak to him as he worked at his father’s business, the defendant waited until police pulled him over for an expired inspection sticker a day and a half later — and then gave the police an interview.
On the witness stand Thursday, Inks told the jury he didn’t speak to the police right away because, “He didn’t think it was important,” Parrish said. He added that the child had no motive to “make this up.”
He said there were several “huge issues” or inconsistencies with the Inks case, including that the girl said she told her grandmother immediately about the abuse, but the girl’s mother testified that she thought her daughter had told her about the incident a week after the fact.
Harrison told jurors about other inconsistencies, including that Inks’ young son was playing in the room where the abuse occurred. “Criminals don’t want to get caught — you have to expect the exact opposite. Does this sound like secrecy?”
Parrish said earlier in his closing statement that child molesters operated in secrecy and were “predators and manipulators.” The prosecutor also criticized the defense for allowing Inks’ young son to testify, saying the child had been manipulated and had not told jurors anything that they did not already know.
But Harrison questioned that police and prosecutors had not spoken to Inks’ son and said the investigation “offended him.”
He told jurors they could convict his client of the lesser included charge of indecency with a child.