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On Wednesday, Aug. 11, a Douglas County jury of seven men and five women deliberated approximately 45 minutes before returning a verdict of not guilty in a sodomy and child molestation case here.
Ava defense attorney Christopher Swatosh said the Douglas County jury found Dallas R. Hallman, 26, of West Plains, not guilty on all counts.
The Howell County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office had charged Hallman with one count of sodomy and one count of child molestation from events alleged to have occurred between Aug. 1, 2006 and July 10, 2007 in West Plains.
Hallman’s case began in Howell County in July 2007, but was transferred to Ava in February 2008 on a change of venue. Judge John G. Moody, 44th Circuit, presided over the three-day trial which began Monday, Aug. 9, and concluded Wednesday at 3:45 p.m. with the Douglas County jury freeing Hallman.
Swatosh said the jury had “difficulty with the total lack of law enforcement investigation,” and said the charges “stemmed from a 10-minute conversation with a 7-year-old without any attempt to corroborate or substantiate any of the child’s story.”
Swatosh said he believed the jury was also persuaded by the fact that the child’s mother believed Hallman was innocent, and that her child had been coached by an “ex”, the child’s biological father.