COVINGTON, Ga. – A Newton County Superior Court jury deliberated into the evening Friday before finding a former sheriff’s deputy guilty of child molestation.
Daniel McGinnis, 32, was accused of improperly touching a child multiple times between 2007 and 2011. He was arrested in 2014 after the victim came forward.
After being selected Monday afternoon, jurors listened to two full days of testimony starting Thursday morning. The testimony included graphic descriptions of abuse from the victim. The 10 women and two men deliberated just over three hours before convicting McGinnis of aggravated child molestation, incest and multiple counts of child molestation.
In his closing argument, defense attorney David LaMalva reminded jurors about the lack of physical evidence in the case.
“There’s not one shred of physical evidence,” he said. “Words are all you’re going to have.”
He also told jurors that the prosecution had failed to prove the case against McGinnis.
“The State has fallen woefully short of proving a crime,” he said.
In her closing argument, Newton County Assistant District Attorney Tabitha Rogers read each charge and told jurors that the State had proven every one, telling them that “a single witness is enough to establish a fact.”
She also urged jurors to keep their focus on the victim.
“Don’t let the defense distract you,” she said. “You’re smarter than that.”
As Rogers announced the verdict, McGinnis looked briefly at his family and friends seated behind him, then stared straight ahead. After Alcovy Circuit Judge Horace J. Johnson ordered him taken into custody, he fell briefly as he was being led away by deputies.
Johnson said McGinnis will be sentenced at a later date.