Though they deliberated for several hours, a jury was unable to agree on the guilt or innocence of Steve Anthony Lam and a mistrial was declared in the child molestation case against him.
Lam did not take the stand in his own defense, but his attorney Lee Sexton begged jurors to look at all the evidence before convicting.
"...You are the ones who determine that, with this kind of evidence, that you forever brand Steve as a child molester," he said in his closing argument Friday morning.
He had previously argued that the victim, who was 12-years-old at the time of the alleged crime, had made the story up because she was mad at Lam for scolding her when she was spending the night at his home.
Now 15, the victim continues to say that Lam asked her to show him some gymnastics moves while everyone else in the house was asleep, and when she was in a vulnerable position, touched her inappropriately both on top of, and under, her shorts. She also said that he attempted to force her to touch him intimately. She said she escaped and hid in a bathroom and later told Lam's then-wife, who is a distant relative of the victim.
Assistant District Attorney Peter Boehm tried to convince jurors that the victim would not have continued to lie for more than three years if nothing had happened, and that she had nothing to gain by coming forward.
"... She brought her courage to the game and she still told what happened... he was not successful in keeping her silent... It's a secret crime, so the only way for a child to come here and look for justice is for them to come in here and talk to you... Show the same courage [the victim] showed and find him guilty for what he did."
Jurors went into deliberation around 11 a.m. Just after noon they requested a break, saying in a note to the judge that "emotions were high" and that they were "no where close" to reaching a decision. Just before 3 p.m. they sent a note to the judge saying they were locked and that no one was "going to change their minds." Around 4:30p.m. jurors sent their last note. They were still hung, with eight voting not guilty and four voting guilty. Judge Samuel Ozburn declared a mistrial.
It will be up to the district attorney's office if the case is tried again.