Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

January 29, 2013

Victim testifies about ‘lewd acts’

TAHLEQUAH — Testimony began Monday afternoon in the trial of a man accused of twice committing lewd acts with a 10-year-old girl last year.

Christopher Joe Yocum, 28, was arrested last April for placing the girls hand on his genitals. The case was investigated by Northeastern State University police because the alleged acts took place in a campus residence.

Attorneys spent much of Monday selecting the jury. Including the alternate juror, the panel was eventually narrowed down to 10 women and three men.

Prosecutors told the jury Monday that the victim considers Yocum her dad, although he isn’t the girl’s biological father.

Assistant District Attorney Marena Doolittle said Yocum is accused of placing the girl’s hand on his genitals on two different occasions. She said Yocum later provided detailed statements to police about the alleged touching, and claimed he was intoxicated when it happened.

Yocum apologized for the incident, Doolittle said, and claimed he was sorry for hurting the victim, his family, and others involved.

Yocum’s attorney, Angela Jones, told jurors in her opening statement that Yocum’s life changed in a matter of hours last April when he was interrogated over the accusations. Jones said Yocum tried to maintain his innocence “time and time again,” and has consistently pleaded not guilty to the charges, but “no one would believe him.”

Jones told jurors the state does not have the evidence for the panel to convict Yocum of the charges: “Not even close.”

After opening statements from Doolittle and Jones, the state called the alleged victim to testify.

In response to questions posed by Assistant District Attorney B.J. Baker, the child told jurors she lived last year in an apartment at NSU with Yocum, her mother, an uncle, and a younger brother. She answered other questions for Baker, including where she went to school and what her favorite school subject is.

Early in her testimony, the girl asked if she could take a break or come back to a couple of questions about why she was upset at her father one night last year. As her testimony continued, the girl told jurors Yocum had once apologized to her, but he wouldn’t tell her why.

“He said he was sorry and he wouldn’t tell me what he did,” she said.

The girl also said Yocum told her not to tell anyone.

She told Baker she is afraid of her dad, and hasn’t missed him since she and her mom moved away.

Baker asked her why she is scared of Yocum.

“Because of what he did,” she responded.

The girl later said her father came into her room one night – a few days before he apologized to her – and she “felt something.”

“My hand was on the bed; it got moved off,” the girl said.

Baker asked the girl for details about what she felt in her hand, but she was only able to provide a minimal description. She told Baker she believes Yocum’s hand was on hers at the time of the touching, and briefly described how her hand was being moved around.

The girl told jurors she believes “the same thing” likely happened weeks later, in April, when she woke up and Yocum was again in her room. She said Yocum looked around and left, but she now cannot remember anything else happening.

“It just scared me that he would come in the room and do something,” she said. “I don’t remember most of it.”

The girl said she went crying to her mom that night in April and told her what had happened. She now cannot remember what she told her mother, but recalls her mom saying she would stay up all night “and make sure I am OK.”

The girl told jurors Yocum frequently consumed beer and liquor, and would sometimes act differently when he drank.

District Judge Darrell Shepherd recessed court shortly before 5 p.m. Monday. After jurors were excused from the courtroom, Baker told the judge a family member of Yocum’s, who has accused the victim of lying, stood outside the courtroom door, watching as the victim testified. Baker said the woman could possibly testify on Yocum’s behalf, and by standing at the door, she was violating the ordered separation of witnesses because she might have heard the victim’s testimony.

Baker asked Shepherd to prevent the woman from testifying on behalf of Yocum, but Shepherd overruled the request and told Baker the woman’s activity should have been brought to his attention when it was noticed.

Testimony was set to continue Tuesday morning.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • ts-Trail-show-1.jpg Jackson takes prize

    Cherokee Heritage Center Museum Curator Mickel Yantz kicked off his 10th anniversary at the venue with the opening of the 43rd annual Trail of Tears Art Show this past Friday.
    “The Trail of Tears show was my first exhibit opening when I arrived 10 years ago,” said Yantz. “Since that time, the show has changed so dramatically; we’ve added so many new artists, and the art work has excelled over time. It’s like Christmas for me.”
    Yantz said he was exceptionally pleased with the opening reception.
    “We had a fantastic turnout,” said Yantz. “We had a lot of fun and sold some artwork, which is great for opening night.”
    The exhibit is on display at the Cherokee Heritage Center through May 26. This year’s show features 130 pieces of art spanning eight different categories, including basketry, graphics, jewelry, miniature, painting, pottery and sculpture.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • churchguy.jpg Some NSU students find Church of Monett offensive

    They turn heads every time they show up on campus, and some students at Northeastern State University are offended by their presence.
    The Church of Monett, Mo., has made periodic trips to Tahlequah to stage quiet demonstrations in public campus spaces in recent years. They carry signs that read, “Wives, Obey your Husbands,”; “To be Married to the divorced is Adultery”; and “Don’t be deceived: fornicators homosexuals idolaters adulterers thieves drunkards - shall not inherit God’s Kingdom.”

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Teen sent to hospital after being struck by tractor-trailer

    An 18-year-old Tahlequah man was struck by a tractor-trailer early Tuesday morning on the State Highway 51 bypass near Mimosa Lane.
    Tahlequah Police Capt. Tom Jones said officers responded to the scene at about 5:40 a.m., when Sage Sohns was found injured and lying in the road. A medical helicopter responded to the scene to transport Sohns to a Tulsa hospital, where he was being treated for a closed-head injury, police said.

    April 16, 2014

  • TPS board hears architect presentations for cafeteria

    Members of the Tahlequah Public Schools Board of Education heard from four architectural firms seeking a contract for construction at Cherokee Elementary School.
    TPS plans to build a cafeteria-auditorium and a music room with a stage, which may also serve as a safe room during storms.

    April 16, 2014

  • Briggs.jpg Local man hit with assault, burglary charges

    Prosecutors have formally charged a Tahlequah man accused of breaking into a motel room, tying a rope around a man’s neck and stabbing him repeatedly with a syringe.
    Jimmy Dale Briggs Jr., 33, is charged with first-degree burglary, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and two counts of threatening to perform an act of violence.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Boy whose mom scolded deputies in trouble again

    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies arrested a 15-year-old theft suspect Monday night after he allegedly assaulted his brother.
    Deputy Kim Novak said authorities were dispatched to a home and ultimately took the teen into custody. While there, they also discovered items that had been reported stolen, including a bed and several tools.
    Novak said the teen is the same boy who has previously been found to be in possession of stolen items.

    April 16, 2014

  • plane-crash-1-a.jpg Plane crash victims recovering

    Two Arkansas men remained in a Tulsa hospital Monday after the plane they were flying crashed into a wooded area in Cookson.
    According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the 1946 Ercoupe 415 crashed under “unknown circumstances” about a mile from the Tenkiller Air Park in Cookson Saturday morning.
    The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says 75-year-old John McCreary and 85-year-old Albert Demarco Jr., both of Ozark, Ark., were flown from Cookson to St. John Medical Center in Tulsa.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • walker-terrance.jpg Man taken for blood sample confuses hospital with hotel

    Tahlequah police say an Austin, Texas, man stopped Saturday mistook a local hospital for a hotel when he was taken to have his blood drawn.
    Officer Cory Keele’s affidavit says 20-year-old Terrance Walker was driving south on Muskogee Avenue at about 2 a.m. Saturday, swerving from one line to another.
    Keele tried to stop the car near Muskogee and Chickasaw, and Walker eventually slowed to a stop near South Street.
    Walker opened the car door as Keele approached. The officer said Walker had dilated pupils.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • ennis-scottie.jpg Knife-cutting incident lands man in jail

    A Tahlequah man jailed for allegedly cutting a woman with a kitchen knife was released on a recognizance bond Monday.
    Scottie Lee Ennis, 42, was arrested after Officer Austin Yates was sent to Tahlequah City Hospital late Friday night.
    There, Yates spoke with Jennifer Pennell, who had apparently suffered a stab wound to her arm.
    Pennell told Yates she and her husband, Ennis, had gone to Dewain’s Place earlier in the evening, and while at the bar, a man bought her a drink.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • hawley-jeremy.jpg Tahlequah man bonds out after arrest for assault

    A 22-year-old Tahlequah man bonded out of jail Monday after his weekend arrest on domestic assault charges.
    Jeremy Hawley was booked into jail Sunday for domestic assault and battery in the presence of a minor and interfering with a 911 call.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
Stocks