A jury has acquitted a Scottsbluff man who had been accused of sexually assaulting a five-year-old girl in 2012.
The panel of seven women and five men returned not guilty verdicts for 70-year old Jimmy Darnell on charges of 1st and 3rd Degree Sexual Assault of a Child following approximately three hours of deliberations.
The jury had heard nearly two hours of closing arguments this morning before receiving the case for consideration around 10:40 a.m.
During closing arguments, County Attorney Dave Eubanks told the jury that this case boils down to the child who took the stand to testify. “Either you believe her or you don’t,” remarked Eubanks. “But if you believe what she said on the witness stand, you can convict.”
Afterwards, Defense Attorney Maren Chaloupka began her closing statements. She told the jury that the facts in this case show that Darnell is and always has been innocent- and the alleged assault never happened.
She highlighted multiple time during the trial there was impossible and conflicting stories being told on the stand; and told the jurors that they were the last line of defense of clearing an innocent man’s name and integrity.
Following the not guilty verdict, Chaloupka talked with KNEB News about the case.
“I have known that Jim was innocent for as long as I’ve known the facts of the case and I was very honored that he had asked me to represent him,” explained Chaloupka. “I am convinced of his innocence and am glad the jury understood that too.”