Eudora News and Information – www.eudorareporter.com
Story by George Diepenbrock, courtesy The Lawrence-Journal World
A Douglas County jury on Thursday convicted a 27-year-old of raping and molesting a 5-year-old girl in Eudora in 2010 and 2011.
Jurors deliberated for less than two hours Thursday before convicting Joshua M. Walker of one count of child rape and two counts of aggravated criminal sodomy. He faces 20 years to life in prison on each count.
“Do you believe this small child? Why would she make these things up?” Chief Assistant District Attorney Amy McGowan said during closing arguments. “There really is no reason for that.”
Walker had lived in Eudora, but he was a resident of Spring Hill at the time of his arrest in July 2011.
A family member had called police in July 2011 after the girl made allegations against Walker. McGowan has said the girl earlier had recanted the allegations in 2010, but they resurfaced a year later. McGowan said the girl also told a child-abuse investigator about the allegations.
“He denies that he did any of the allegations that the state claims,” defense attorney Hatem Chahine said during closing arguments.
Chahine said the girl has had an unstable life and had often moved residences and schools. He also said she might have become aware of sexual activity because she likely viewed pornography.
Chahine also said medical evidence in the case did not corroborate sexual abuse allegations.
Jurors began hearing evidence in the case Tuesday morning. Walker testified in his own defense Thursday morning. The jury started deliberating about 4 p.m. Thursday and reached a verdict about 5:40 p.m.
The prosecutor during closing arguments pointed to statements Walker made to Eudora police last summer that he might have “blacked out” during the alleged acts, and she said Walker had written a letter earlier this year to family members asking them to record the girl saying the allegations were “all a dream.”
“That’s just another piece of evidence that shows consciousness of guilt,” McGowan said.
District Judge Michael Malone has scheduled a July 27 hearing in the case to hear post-trial motions. He could also sentence Walker at the conclusion of that hearing.