The trial of 40-year-old Edward James Charboneau, charged with five counts of criminal sexual conduct, has gone to the jury.
The jury has gone into recess Thursday, declaring to Judge Thomas Solka at about 5 p.m. that they would be unable to reach a unanimous decision that evening. They had deliberated Thursday afternoon for about three-and-a-half hours.
Charboneau is charged with sexually assaulting a nine-year-old female family member on repeated occasions.
The defense rested their case Thursday morning. After two hours of deliberations, the jury returned to the courtroom Thursday afternoon with questions for Judge Thomas Solka. Most of the questions were about an alleged letter of confession from the defendant detailing the molestation of the nine-year-old girl. The letter is in electronic form, saved on a disc and sealed in an envelope. The envelope is signed by Charboneau. It was provided to authorities by the victim's mother just before Charboneau's arrest last April.
The judge denied the jury's request to view that document on a laptop computer. He was concerned that it could expose other details on the disc that were not admitted into evidence.
The jury also asked if there was a way to tell when the document had been created and if it had been updated. Judge Solka told the jury they had to work solely with the information provided to them in testimony and what was admitted into evidence.
That letter was also a key part of the closing arguments Thursday afternoon. The defense denied its authenticity claiming that there was no evidence that it was written by Charboneau.
"I ask, does this officer's investigation show he's trying to find the truth?" asked the defense attorney, "or just to make a case to railroad Ed straight into prison?"
The prosecution, however, says the letter and the fact that it was written years ago proves that criminal sexual conduct was committed.
"We would have to go back seven years and she would have to have known 'if I write these things, someday down the road, I will use this against him, and at that point, I'll get my day in court'," said Prosecuting Attorney Matt Wiese.
The jury also asked to review the victim's testimony. They'll resume Friday morning.