MOUNT VERNON — Testimony from a sexual assault nurse, a forensic scientist and a technical director of a DNA testing lab were not enough evidence to produce a guilty verdict Wednesday in the sexual battery case of the State of Ohio vs. Fred Parker.
The two-day jury trial came an end Wednesday with final testimony heard in the morning and closing arguments in the afternoon before a short jury deliberation produced the not-guilty verdict. A sigh of relief could be heard from family and friends of Parker after the verdict was read in the courtroom.
“We feel justice has been served,” said Dirk Parker, father of the defendant, following the ruling. “It was a fair verdict. The jurors did a nice job.”
Wednesday’s court proceedings opened with defense attorney James Giles requesting the separation of witnesses, which was upheld by Knox County Common Pleas Court Judge Otho Eyster. Prosecuting attorney Chip McConville stated he did not plan to recall witnesses, and Eyster informed witnesses they could remain in the courtroom but could no longer provide testimony.
McConville called Diane Tracey, a sexual assault nurse at Knox Community Hospital, to the stand. She said she has been involved in between 40 and 50 cases of sexual assault. She was on duty at the emergency room when the victim came to the hospital following the alleged assault. She claimed she took ear, oral, hair, fingernail and pubic hair samples as well as rectal and vaginal cultures. The results of these tests were turned over to Mount Vernon Police Detective Sgt. Jeff Jacobs. She said she gave the victim two different medications for nausea and noted a white substance found on her labia.
Results of these tests reportedly showed that semen was identified in vaginal samples and anal swabs, and that saliva was identified in the underwear and bra, according to Jacobs. Test results were then forwarded to Labcorp for further identification.
Testimony was then heard from Sarah Smith, a forensic scientist with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Identification. Smith reported she conducted tests in March 2010 for blood, semen and saliva taken from vaginal, anal and underwear samples. Results of these tests reportedly showed that male sperm cells were present in microscope examinations and chemical tests.