Prosecutors rest case; defense argues no one saw abuse

Photo by Jessica Mowchan/TheNewsOutlet.org

By CHRIS COTELESSE
TheNewsOutlet.org

YOUNGSTOWN – Minutes after prosecutors rested their case today, friends of the couple accused of imprisoning and abusing a cognitively-impaired woman testified that they never witnessed any mistreatment.

Friends of Jessica L. Hunt, 31, and Jordie, L. Callahan, 26, testified Tuesday that they didn’t see anyone being mistreated while spending significant periods of time at 509 W. Main St. during the time that federal prosecutors allege the couple imprisoned and abused the woman referred to in court paper as S.E. and her 5 year old daughter.

During the past two weeks, federal prosecutors presented several witnesses who testified that Hunt and Callahan forced the alleged victim to clean their house, wear a dog collar, use the floor for a bathroom and that they would punish her with beatings and humiliation.

In court today, Michael “Mac” Crook said he visited with Hunt and Callahan at their home once or twice a week in 2010, and by 2012 was visiting the residence up to four times a week.

He said he never saw anyone abuse S.E., and he never saw her clean anything.

“She didn’t seem out of place,” Crook said. “She could come and go as she pleased.”

Defense attorney Carolyn Kucharski asked about the physical appearance and hygiene of S.E. and her daughter, because many witnesses for the prosecution had testified that S.E. was often dirty and her clothes were in disarray.

Crook said S.E. and her daughter didn’t appear to be neglected.

“They seemed normal to me,” he said.

Another witness for the defense, Robert Fedders, Callahan’s cousin, said he would visit 509 W. Main St. once or twice a week from May 2010 to November 2011.

He also testified that he didn’t see anything unusual.

The trial, which began two weeks ago in the Sixth Circuit U.S. District for the North District, is expected to continue Wednesday with the defense considering calling Hunt to the witness stand.

U.S. Judge Benita Pearson released jurors at about 2:40 p.m. today so that she could discuss various motions with attorneys, including several to acquit Callahan and Hunt.

Pearson is expected to rule in the morning.

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