An Anderson County jury deliberated a total of approximately 13 hours over two days before finding a 59-year-old Elkhart woman “not guilty” of injury to a child charges late Friday afternoon at the Anderson County Courthouse.

The state had alleged Sally Vincent, 59, of Elkhart had intentionally twisted the arm of a 2-year-old girl more than two years ago at Kaptain Kidz day care center in Palestine, resulting in a spiral fracture.

After hearing closing arguments from both sides, the 12-person jury deliberated for approximately nine hours Thursday before 349th State District Judge Pam Foster Fletcher recessed the case for the day at approximately 11:30 p.m.

The jury was ordered sequestered and spent the night in a local hotel before resuming deliberations around mid-morning Friday. During the course of their deliberations, the panel sent out multiple notes to the judge and attorneys, indicating split votes of 10-2 and 11-1 on two occasions.

Finally around 4 p.m. Friday, the jury reached a unanimous verdict, indicating they had found Vincent not guilty of injury to a child.

Local attorney Melvin Whitaker, who represented Vincent, said his client was “grateful” that the jury took their time and carefully examined the evidence.

“Of course, my client was extremely happy and relieved and glad to have that all behind her,” Whitaker said Friday night.

Anderson County District Attorney Doug Lowe expressed disappointment at the jury’s verdict.

“We're disappointed in the verdict because we don’t believe justice was served,” said Lowe, who indicated the jury's deliberation was the longest he had been involved in since assuming office in 1999.

Stanley Sokolowski, Anderson County assistant district attorney who assisted Lowe in the state'’s prosecution, thanked the jury for their time and “service.” Evidence in the trial began Monday, with the defense calling a host of family members and friends during the week who testified about Vincent’s love for children. Her work as a Sunday School teacher at Cedar Creek Missionary Baptist Church outside of Elkhart also was lauded by some witnesses.

Throughout the week-long trial, a contingent of typically a dozen or so of Vincent’s family members and friends sat in the gallery, listening to the evidence.

Expert witnesses testifying during the trial had differing opinions as to how the 2-year-old girl sustained a fractured left arm on May 1, 2003 at Kaptain Kidz day care center.

Dr. Eric Levy, an Amarillo physician who specializes in the treatment of critically-ill children, testified on behalf of the defense, telling the jury he believed the toddler’s broken arm resulted from an accidental fall as described by Vincent.

While the girl’s arm would have been approximately 2 feet from the floor prior to such a fall, Levy testified the 2-year-old weighed 41 pounds and was the typical size of a 5- or 5 1/2-year old according to growth charts.

Levy’s testimony indicated the girl’s body mass likely contributed to the force of her fall and, hence, the severity of her injury.

The state’s expert witness, Dr. James L. Lukefahr, who specializes in child abuse pediatrics in Galveston, testified the toddler's injury constituted a spiral fracture which “implies a twisting force being applied to the bone.

“Accidental falls don’t typically do that, especially in children,” he further testified.

Lukefahr told the jury his opinion was “this fracture was due to a forceful twist being applied to this child's arm and that force was not accidental.”

During the trial, the state also introduced a handful of extraneous acts of inappropriate discipline of children allegedly committed by Vincent during her employment at Kaptain Kidz and another local day care where she had previously worked.

If Vincent had been found guilty of the third-degree felony offense of “intentionally and knowingly” causing injury to a child, she could have faced up to 10 years in prison.

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