RUTHERFORDTON — Scottie Jimerson, 50, was found not guilty on Friday for the charges of statutory rape and sexual offense of a victim above 6 years of age and a count of sexual offense in a parental role. Jimerson was the live-in boyfriend of the victim.
Jimerson has been in the Rutherford County Detention Center since November 2014 when he was arrested and charged. His bail had been set at $100,000. He would have faced up to 392 months or more of jail time if convicted of the felony.
Prosecutor Garland F. Byers, Jr. faced an uphill battle with inconsistencies in the victim’s testimony, a missing arrest warrant from the Clerk of Court’s office, and questions about the RC Sheriff’s office’s chain of custody of the collected evidence.
Defense Attorney Daniel Talbert’ closing arguments highlighted that the responsibility of proving the defendant guilty lay with the State of North Carolina. The defense was not required to prove innocence. Talbert was quick to capitalize on the numerous errors in the case by reminding the jury of five men and seven women of:
- the inconsistencies in the victim’s testimony and their duty to decide credibility,
- the motives of the child. Jimerson had found explicit photos on the child’s phone. Was she scared of getting in trouble if he told her mom?
- no crime scene photos had been taken. There were no audio, video, fingerprint, cell phone data, or photographs introduced as evidence.
- testimony saying that the physical examination had shown some signs that there had been no penetration. There also had not been any abrasions or bruises.
- the fact that there had been two experts at the NC State Crime Lab who had performed the testing, but only 1 showed up for court. She could not not testify on her colleague’s result.
- the RC Clerk of Court could not produce the warrant which had an uninitialed date change.
- the chain of custody of the evidence was questionable and there could also have been cross contamination.
The victim was 13 at the time.