LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - On Tuesday, an Angelina County jury started hearing testimony in the case of a Diboll man who is accused of molesting a 7-year-old girl while they were watching a movie together approximately eight years ago.
Jacorie Jamile Mitchell, 26, is being tried in Judge Paul White's 159th Judicial District Court on a second-degree felony indecency with a child by sexual contact charge. He was originally arrested on the charge in August of 2014.
According to the arrest affidavit, the victim made the outcry about the alleged incident on April 21, 2014. She told police that the incident happened in April 2006 when she was at a relative's house in Diboll.
The girl told the Diboll PD detective that she, her relative, and Mitchell were at the home watching a movie together. At one point, the relative left the room, and Mitchell moved closer to her and touched her inappropriately.
During Tuesday's testimony, April Perez, an assistant prosecutor with the Angelina County District Attorney's Office, said that the victim was just 8 years old when the defendant touched her inappropriately. She explained that it took seven or eight years for the girl to come forward and tell her mother what had happened.
Perez explained that the girl and her mother would tell their sides of the story, and law enforcement officers from Diboll and experts would explain why victims often wait so long to report crimes like the one Mitchell is accused of committing.
Defense attorney Jerry Whiteker said if the memories of an 8-year-old are accurate, Mitchell should be convicted.
"He is cooperative, quiet, unassuming, and went to an interrogation by himself to answer a jumbled hodgepodge of questions," Whiteker said. "I believe you will find without a reasonable doubt that this man did not do what he is charged with."
The victim's mother took the stand first. She said she knew Mitchell for years before the incident.
During her testimony, the victim's mother said her daughter was a good and smart kid who got along with everyone. From 2006 to 2009, her kids spent a lot of time with a family member as her work schedule was overnight.
The woman said her daughter told her of the incident via text. She said, "She had something to tell her."
In the text exchange, the girl told her mother, "Jacorie touched me," and her mother replied, "Quit lying." After the girl said she wasn't lying, her mother asked her why she took so long to tell her what had happened.
"He said he was an adult and he knew what he was doing and no one would believe me," the girl told her mother in a text message.
The victim's mother said her daughter began asking why they had to give Mitchell a ride.
Later in her testimony, the victim's mother said her daughter doesn't go out anywhere, and Mitchell's family members began to laugh out loud.
Whiteker asked the woman if her daughter had any problems with lack of sleep, acting out, or getting along with others. The victim's mother responded that her daughter didn't display any of those signs.
Later, Mitchell's best friend took the stand. He said that he also knows the victim and that because of that he doesn't know what to believe about what happened.
Mitchell's best friend testified that Mitchell hasn't ever told him whether he did or didn't touch the girl inappropriately. He added that neither Mitchell nor the victim has ever lied to him, so he is confused.
Jacorie hasn't told him he did it or that he hasn't. He says he doesn't doesn't like to talk about it. He says he doesn't know what to believe and neither of them have lied to him and he is confused.
Later, the jurors heard testimony from the victim. She said that Mitchell asked her if she wanted to get on the bed with him, she said yes. The victim said that Mitchell moved closer to her, put his hand up her shorts, and touched her inappropriately.
The victim explained that she didn't tell anyone what had happened because she was embarrassed, and she felt like it was her fault.
The next person called to the stand was Candy Hartman, a forensic interviewer for Harold's House. She testified the victim was brought there because of allegations of sexual abuse.
Hartman told the jurors that the victim showed no signs of deception and added that delayed outcries are more common than not.
When the state called Texas Ranger Steven Rayburn to the stand, the law enforcement officer explained that when he interviewed Mitchell, he used a method that gives the suspect two options: "You're an evil person that hurts others or you made a mistake."
At that point, the state played the video recording of Rayburn interviewing Mitchell. In the interview, Mitchell admitted that he is not a bad guy, but he made a mistake.
In the video, Mitchell also said that he was high on marijuana when he touched the girl inappropriately for his own pleasure. However, in the same video, Mitchell said that he doesn't remember the incident happening.
Mitchell said in the recorded interview that the victim was on his right side, and he used his right hand. He said that after the girl got scared, she got up and walked away.
Tuesday afternoon, Mitchell took the stand. He told the jurors that he felt pressured by Rayburn to stay and admit to committing the crime.
The state and the defense are expected to present their closing arguments Wednesday.