By JOSH NEWTON
District Judge Darrell Shepherd declared a mistrial in the lewd molestation case against Roxie Lee Wagers Friday night, less than four hours after jurors began their deliberations.
Jurors emerged just before 7 p.m. Friday to ask about the protocol for a “hung jury.” The foreman of the panel told Shepherd the jury members would be unable to reach a unanimous decision on the three felony counts against Wagers, 73.
The foreman told the judge the jury of seven women and five men was having trouble agreeing; some members of the panel felt evidence seemed “questionable,” the foreman said.
He told Shepherd the jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision on any of the three charges against Wagers.
Shepherd declared a mistrial and set the case for the next trial docket, which begins May 19. Wagers’ defense attorney, Donn Baker, asked Shepherd to remove Wagers’ ankle monitor so Wagers can go to work in the Tulsa area, and because of the expense – more than $300 per month – Wagers faces. Baker argued Wagers is not a flight risk and has made all of his court appearances.
Assistant District Attorney Joy Mohorovicic objected to removal of the monitor, but said she had “no problem” with Wagers going to work. Shepherd said he would set the matter for a hearing at a later date so specifics could be discussed.
Wagers is accused of molesting a girl two times and exposing himself to her at another time, though the victim testified during the trial that it had happened more than 100 times.
During closing arguments Friday, Baker suggested the case was a “he-said, she-said” story, and urged jurors not to guess in their decision.
“I suggest to you [the victim] made a very good witness,” Baker said. “You can’t help but feel sorry for her. The question is, was she telling you the truth, or was she lying?”
Baker told jurors the “strongest motive” for the victim’s accusation was an affair between the victim’s mother and Wagers. Details of the affair were denied by the victim and her father when they testified Thursday; but the victim’s mother admitted to the affair when she took the stand Friday morning.
Baker labeled the alleged victim a “daddy’s girl” who would “do anything” to keep her parents together.
Prosecutors told jurors that Wagers’ own words in two recordings prove he felt “guilty” for what he had done to the girl.
“Yeah, it’s a he-said, she-said,” said Mohorovicic. “[Wagers] said he did it, [the victim] said he did it.”
Mohorovicic said Wagers “groomed” the victim from the time she was 6 years old, and left memories that will likely scar the girl – who is now a teenager – for the rest of her life.