A jury on Friday acquitted a Buckhannon man of a child abuse resulting in death charge after deliberating less than three hours over two days in Upshur County Circuit Court.
Johnathon Andrew Clyde Queen, 24, put his face in his hands and leaned back in his chair as the verdict was read Friday morning. He had stood trial during the four days on allegations that he caused the death of his then-girlfriend's 21-month-old son in August 2010.
Queen said afterward that he was "pleased" with the jury's decision and thanked defense attorneys Jim Hawkins and Brian Hinkle for their representation.
"I am happy God was with me through this," added Queen, who did not testify on his own behalf during the trial."I'm glad the truth came out in this matter."
The eight-woman, four-man jury was given the case Thursday night and deliberated about two hours before going home for the evening. The members returned around 9 a.m. Friday and deliberated about 45 minutes before reaching a decision.
"Any time there is the death of a child, it's emotional," Hawkins said. "The jury was able to sift through the evidence, and they were able to see Mr. Queen had been charged with a crime that did not occur. Ultimately, the jury reached the right conclusion, and justice was done."
Both Hawkins and Upshur County Prosecuting Attorney Jake Reger applauded the work done by Lt. Mark Davis of the Upshur County Sheriff's Department during the investigation.
"We respect the jury's verdict, and it was obvious they considered the evidence in this case," Reger said. "Lt. Davis put a lot of time into the investigation, and I appreciate those efforts."
The prosecution had argued that the Aug. 30 death of the child was attributed to child abuse, most likely from shaken baby syndrome, which they argued happened on Aug. 19, 2010. But a forensic pathologist called as a defense witness testified that the injuries could have come during attempts to save the child at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown.