Jury To Resume Deliberations Friday In Dukes Sexual Assault Tria

Jury To Resume Deliberations Friday In Dukes Sexual Assault Trial

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A Jefferson County Court jury is deliberating the fate of Sheldon Dukes.

Dukes is accused of engaging in sexual acts in Watertown with a girl , who was born in 2005. The alleged assaults happened between June 2011 and July 2013. 

The day began with closing arguments. Dukes' defense attorney painted his client as the victim of a narrative and said that narrative is that Dukes is the only one who had access to the victim. 

"We lack physical evidence. This case is entirely circumstantial and testimonial," said Clifton Carden III. He also said the evidence "does not rise to the high level for a conviction." 

In her closing argument, prosecutor Patty Dziuba said the now 13 year old alleged victim, who took the stand during the trial, was a brave young girl who found the courage to speak up - even years after the alleged incidents. 

Dziuba said this is not a circumstantial case and "the testimony of the girl alone is sufficient to convict this defendant."

On Wednesday in court, Carden successfully moved for dismissal of charges against Dukes for alleged incidents involving another child in Carthage. That has reduced the trial to considering only one potential victim...

The jury deliberated about two and a half hours before being sent home for the night. 

Just before leaving, jurors gave the judge a note asking for read back of some testimony.

Deliberations will resume at 8:30 a.m. Friday.

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