CORUNNA — A Shiawassee County jury was expected to continue deliberating this morning on criminal sexual conduct charges in 35th Circuit Court.
Jeffery Beard, 46, of Corunna, is accused of two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct for allegedly touching a girl inappropriately and forcing her to touch him as well.
Beard was charged April 11 in connection with an incident that allegedly took place Oct. 19-20, 2018.
The Argus-Press does not typically identify victims of sexual assault.
The jury deliberated about two hours Tuesday evening before retiring until today.
The trial took only a single day to conduct.
Judge Matthew Stewart called the jury into the courtroom about 7 p.m., and excused them for the day.
The minor girl testified from behind a screen while holding a comfort animal. She told the jury Beard had touched her while at his residence. She said he put his hand down her pants and forced her to touch his genitals.
Several other witnesses, including Beard’s mother, stated he had been drinking the night of the alleged incident.
Beard’s ex-wife said he was a “frequent drinker,” and often didn’t remember doing things when he had consumed alcohol.
Michigan State Police Trooper Brandy Hart interviewed the girl Oct. 21, 2018, at Owosso Memorial Healthcare and said she referred the child to Sparrow Health System in Lansing for a sexual assault exam. She also interviewed Beard, who admitted to consuming about 1 pint of vodka the evening of Oct. 19.
“He didn’t remember much,” Hart said, “but he denied the allegation…”
The child was examined for signs of sexual assault Oct. 21 at Sparrow. Beard’s DNA was found on her ear. Beard’s DNA was not found on the child’s genitals.
Michigan State Police Det./Sgt. James Moore interviewed Beard Nov. 20, 2018, at the Shiawassee MSP Post.
“Beard had no recollection” of doing anything inappropriate,” Moore said, but added Beard “did not deny it took place.”
Moore also said Beard admitted to “nibbling” on the child’s earlobe.
Defense lawyer Amy Husted told the court her client “100 percent denies these allegations.” She added Beard had never been charged with any similar crime, and she called several friends and family members to testify who said he didn’t have the reputation of someone who would commit criminal sexual conduct.
“You don’t start being a pedophile at age 45,” Husted told the jury during closing arguments.