After nearly three hours of deliberation, the jury in the felony trial of Charles Alan Dyer found the man guilty on one count of child sexual abuse Thursday evening in the Stephens County Courthouse.
The trial, presided over by Judge Joe Enos, was Dyer’s third, coming after two prior mistrial. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
While Dyer sat in silence at the defense table as the verdict was read, the mother of the child victim and Dyer’s estranged wife, Valerie Dyer, sobbed from her seat. Family members seated around Valerie Dyer as Charles Dyer was escorted from the courtroom by court officials.
“I don’t know how to explain it,” Charles Dyer had said earlier in the day, during his testimony. “It’s a roller coaster of emotion.”
Cheers erupted on the courthouse steps minutes after the reading of the verdict as Valerie Dyer and her group of supporters left the courtroom.
Stephens County Sheriff Wayne McKinney expressed relief at the conclusion of the proceedings in a statement after the verdict was read.
“I am proud of the investigation conducted by my office,” McKinney said. “I stand by the evidence presented in court, and have accepted the jury’s verdict.”
McKinney commented on the “circus-like sideshows” Charles Dyer brought to the case. He specified Dyer’s political views and his claims that his “prosecution was a federal government conspiracy” among those sideshows.
“My goal is to protect the vulnerable, and we have accomplished that within the confines of the law,” McKinney said.
Earlier in the day, the third and final day of testimony in the trial featured testimony by the defendant himself, followed by closing arguments by both sides.
During those closing arguments, District 6 first assistant District Attorney James Walters found a key phrase to support his argument.
“Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” Walters said several times in his closing.
The phrase arose from the questioning of Charles Dyer by his defense attorney, Albert Hoch. Hoch asked Charles Dyer several questions regarding the status of his relationship with Valerie Dyer, including her alleged issues with prescription drugs and alcohol.
In his own closing, Hoch told the jury to the believability of Valerie Dyer, giving as examples some difficulty she had had on the stand recounting events, and indicating specifically a statement she had made that she would do “anything” to keep her child safe, including lying and perjury.
He also said that, by keeping the child isolated from Charles Dyer’s side of the family, she had been able to reinforce the child’s testimony.
“She’ll have to deal with false allegations against her dad,” Hoch said.
For final statements, assistant District Attorney Carrie Hixon closed by reinforcing to the jury and the audience in the courtroom that the victim, when asked who committed the crime, pointed at Charles Dyer.