RINGGOLD, Ga. — An alternate juror was struck from the Tonya Craft trial panel this afternoon after allegations that he might have formed an opinion in the case.
A former kindergarten teacher, Ms. Craft faces 22 counts of child molestation, aggravated sexual battery and aggravated child molestation involving three children.
She has maintained her innocence since being charged on June 11, 2008.
Judge Brian House sent the jury out to hear allegations that the juror had expressed dissatisfaction with being chosen for the panel and hostility toward the prosecution.
According to testimony Wednesday, the juror told his wife, who told a friend.
The friend, a lunch staff worker at Chickmauga Elementary School, testified on the witness stand to what the wife said. Judge House did not ask the juror to speak.
Wednesday’s trial action concerned prosecution testimony from a 9=year-old who is an alleged victim in the case. The defense began cross-examining the child and will continue Thursday.
An expert witness also is expected to take the stand Thursday before the other two children testify, court officials said.
For complete details, see tomorrow’s Times Free Press.
Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...