Jury finds man not guilty of attempted rape
by Shaka S. Lias
Apr 07, 2011 | 3973 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It took less than an hour for a jury to find Joseph Allen Wilson Jr., on trial for the attempted rape of an ex-girlfriend, innocent.

The defense opened Wednesday morning with testimony from Wilson's sister. She told the jurors that her brother and the alleged victim had a rocky relationship and he bounced back and forth between her home and his then-girlfriend's.

She also produced a conversation via Facebook between Wilson and the ex-girlfriend disputing the woman's testimony earlier in the week that she had no contact with Wilson after the May 18, 2010, incident.

According to testimony, which began Tuesday morning, Wilson let himself into the woman's home without permission, stripped down to his underwear and laid next to her in bed, kissing and fondling her.

Herbert Schlanger, attorney for Wilson, asked the jury to find his client not guilty for two reasons: law and fact.

He reminded jurors that Wilson remained clothed during the incident.

"She did say no. Once she said no, he got up, they had an argument and he left," Schlanger said in closing arguments.

The attorney said once Wilson left he abandoned his efforts to commit a crime. "You can't renounce anymore than getting up, getting dressed and walking out."

He urged them to find Wilson not guilty, saying the trial is more fit for a Jerry Springer show than a courtroom.

Schlanger told jurors the alleged victim's behavior was not in line with someone who had been violated, referring to Wilson fixing the woman's tire the same day as the incident.

"If someone has attempted to rape you, do you go get your tire fixed by them?" he asked.

Assistant District Attorney Rosemary Greene told the jurors in her closing statements that the case boils down to control and asked them to use common sense.

"He didn't abandon, she stopped him by saying no," Greene said.

Greene told jurors it didn't matter if the relationship was dysfunctional or not. "It doesn't affect what happened May 18."

According to Greene, Wilson was upset her client had a new boyfriend, although Wilson was married when he met the woman.

"He was mad that she had a new man around his child -- again, controlling," Greene said.

In the end, the jury agreed with the defense, finding Wilson not guilty.

In other court news, the trial of Carl Tommy Barnett Jr. and Melanie Barnett began in Judge Shepherd Howell's courtroom. Barnett is charged with aggravated child molestation and cruelty to children, while his wife is charged with two counts of cruelty to children. The trial will continue today with video interviews -- expected to be shown today or Friday -- of the children recounting what allegedly happened.