The word of a 13-year-old girl was not enough to convict Edward Durbin, a Houston man charged with third-degree child molestation. After about six hours of deliberations in Rolla, the case ended in a hung jury after jurors announced they were hopelessly deadlocked.
The charge dates to allegations made on April 29, 2018. A Houston Police Department officer responded to a Houston residence regarding a report of possible child molestation. The officer contacted a 13-year-old girl there who stated she had been babysitting at her mother’s Augusta Street home earlier that day, and a man who was a family friend, was also there doing laundry. The officer contacted the girl’s grandmother, who gave consent for the girl to be questioned. After an investigation, the officer determined the man, Edward Durbin, inappropriately touched the girl.
The officer contacted Durbin at his home that night. He was taken to the Texas County Sheriff’s Department for questioning. After being read his Miranda rights, he requested an attorney.
On Monday, Jan. 13, the trial commenced and a jury was selected in Phelps County and heard opening statements and from the state’s 10 witnesses on Tuesday, Jan. 14. On Wednesday, Jan. 15, the jury heard from the defense’s two witnesses and listened to closing arguments. After deliberating for approximately six hours, the jury announced that it was hopelessly deadlocked. Circuit Judge William E. Hickle declared a mistrial. The new jury trial date has not yet been scheduled.
Edward Durbin was represented at trial by Lacon Marie Smith, a criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of Adam Woody from Springfield. The State of Missouri was represented at trial by Acting Texas County Prosecuting Attorney Jason MacPherson and Assistant Prosecuting Attorney James Weber.