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Friday, Oct. 9, 2015

Mistrial declared in Sharp County rape case

Thursday, October 20, 2005

After an entire day of jury selection and another of testimony, Sharp County Circuit Judge Harold Erwin declared a mistrial Oct. 13, delaying the fate of a former Bono alderman charged with raping an underage girl.

Glenn Talmadge Wynn, 49, of Bono is charged with four counts of rape, a class Y felony, in Sharp County. Jury selection began Oct. 11, with opening statements and testimony beginning Oct. 12. Erwin declared the mistrial Thursday morning before the trial resumed.

During the testimony, 3rd Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Henry Boyce played a tape of the interview conducted after Wynn's arrest while traveling to the Sharp County jail with Det. Ken Guidry of the county's domestic violence unit and Sgt. Stan Haney. A transcript of the tape was provided to the jury, which consisted of seven men and five women, to follow along while listening to the tape.

It wasn't until the next morning the prosecution realized a mistake. In the margins of the transcript were notes made by the prosecution in preparing for trial. Boyce informed Wynn's defense team who then filed a motion for mistrial.

"Although Mr. Wynn adamantly denies all allegations made against him during the custodial interview and has maintained his innocence throughout this entire proceeding, the prosecutor's notes amounted to a running commentary on his testimony which is not allowed under Arkansas law and/or the United States Constitution," said a prepared statement from Wynn's attorneys, Ray Nickle and Bill Stanley of Jonesboro. "The mistrial was the only way to ensure that Mr. Wynn received a fair and unbiased trial which is a fundamental right of all Americans."

They added that there was no reason to believe the prosecution's actions were intentional. A new trial is expected in 2006.

"The prosecution will definitely pursue a re-trial of the case," said a prepared statement from Sharp County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Tom Garner. "The trial setting will be determined by court order at a later date."

Erwin issued a no-contact order prohibiting Wynn from contacting the victim and her family until the trial resumes.

Wynn's alleged victim, now 15, was the first witness called to the stand.

The honor student claimed the alleged abuse began when Wynn began teaching her and her older sister how to drive in his pickup. She said in 2003 the accused started rubbing her leg and eventually her pelvic region where he would digitally penetrate her. She said he touched her chest and forced her to perform oral sex on him four times.

The girl testified that at least one incident happened in his truck while her sister was driving at night. Sitting in the middle, Wynn allegedly turned toward her while she slipped down into the floorboard and began performing oral sex.

She claimed her older sister didn't see or hear the act because she "was a new driver at night and was paying attention to the road."

She told the jury she would let her sister drive the truck more often than she did because she was afraid Wynn would touch her, too.

The victim told the jury Wynn had pointed out a scar on one of his testicles from a vasectomy. He allegedly pointed it out to her to show she couldn't get pregnant if they had sexual intercourse.

Although Wynn admits to having had a vasectomy, Dr. Charles Tucker later examined Wynn and testified he had no such scar.

A forensic sexual abuse examination was performed on the victim four months after the abuse allegedly occurred. The physician from Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock testified that the girl's hymen remained intact and there were no physical findings of abuse.

Wynn, who leased hunting and cattle land from the victim's family, did not take the stand before the mistrial was declared; however, in the taped interview he denied any wrongdoing and said the claims are an attempt to get money. He said a family member asked Wynn to pay $3,000 for the victim to receive Lasik eye surgery so she would not be burdened by glasses. He refused.

"I haven't done anything improper with that girl," he said in the tape. "Her mom is behind this, I promise you. Her mother is doing this."

Nickle described the victim as a "smart, clever, creative, highly imaginative girl."

Wynn was originally charged with 12 counts of rape and two counts of sexual assault. His charges were reduced the day jury selection began.

Wynn rejected a plea agreement offered by the prosecution because he would be required to plead guilty to a sex crime. The prosecution rejected an agreement offered by the defense that would remove Wynn's sex crime charges and replace it with misdemeanor charges for allowing minors to drive his pickup.

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