A defense team credits reasonable doubt for the not-guilty verdict in a child sex case that was heard in a Bell County courtroom last week.
Carlos Maurice Husband, 34, was accused of sexually assaulting an 8-year-old child in 2017 and 2018. He had been in the Bell County Jail since November of 2018 awaiting trial. After a weeklong trial, the jury returned its verdict on Jan. 17 after deliberating for about an hour and a half.
“The bottom line is that the state didn’t prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Zachary Boyd, Husband’s defense attorney with offices in Copperas Cove and Temple. “We explain to the jury that all persons are presumed innocent, and if the state does not prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt then they must return a not-guilty verdict. We pointed out the state’s shortcomings wherever we could and the jury listened.”
Boyd said that he reminded the jury that news stories, which always include information from the police through arrest affidavits, only tell one side of the story.
“The jury is the exclusive judge of the facts, not what they hear or read in the news,” he said.
Boyd and his law partner, Melissa Tyroch, did not want to speculate about what persuaded the jury to return its not-guilty verdict, but Tyroch said the testimony of the alleged victim was different than what was in the arrest affidavit.
Police said that on Sept. 25, 2018, a person reported that sexual assaults of the girl happened in the 4100 block of East Rancier Avenue. The girl allegedly told a forensic interviewer details of the abuse that began when she was 8 years old and happened “a lot of times” while she was 8 and 9 years old.
“The child’s mother was the one who first named Husband as the offender, and on the stand the child contradicted what the mother said,” Tyroch said. “We’ve learned that juries want to see law enforcement do their jobs.”
It was a challenging trial for everyone, including the 12 members of the jury.
“This jury was patient, sitting there for five long days and hearing a very tough case,” Tyroch said.
Boyd said that it’s not easy to find a jury that can look past the charge itself.
“It’s hard to empanel enough open-minded citizens who will listen, look and follow the law,” he said. “They had to divorce themselves of emotion and bias and just follow the law. We felt good after closing arguments and we were not surprised about the verdict.”
Boyd said that Husband, who came to Bell County after Hurricane Katrina, had only speeding tickets as prior violations.
“His life took a turn but I believe he’ll get his life back on track,” he said.
Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza did not offer further comment on the case when asked by the Herald.