VALPARAISO — Porter Superior Court Judge Roger Bradford tossed out a jury verdict Monday against former Portage day care operator William Boyd-Radford, who was found guilty in June of battering a 6-year-old boy in his care.
“This verdict is wrong,” the judge said.
Bradford, who has set aside only one other criminal verdict during his 35 years on the bench, said the defense in this case was unable to effectively cross-examine the purported victim because the boy claimed at trial not to remember details about the offense. This was in contrast to a video statement taken by defense a couple of years earlier at the time of the alleged incident on July 10, 2014.
Bradford also raised concerns about the jury in the case and two jurors in particular, who he said asked questions more akin to prosecuting attorneys.
“There was just something wrong with that jury and that jury verdict in my opinion,” Bradford said.
Bradford set aside the verdict during what was supposed to be Boyd-Radford’s sentencing hearing. The move places the case back in the hands of prosecutors to decide whether to retry the case, attempt to reach a plea agreement or dismiss the felony-level charge.
The accusations resulted after the boy’s mother noticed bruises on her son’s chest and right ear after picking him up from the former Discovery Playhouse Daycare in Portage, according to court records.
Boyd-Radford, who maintains his innocence, told the boy’s parents that the child was hit in the chest with a swing when two other children were fighting over it, records show.
But the boy, who required no medical care, said Boyd-Radford injured him after he “went potty” in his pants during lunch on July 10, 2014. The boy told police Boyd-Radford “asked questions which he couldn’t answer” and then walked him downstairs for a timeout.
The boy said Boyd-Radford punched him numerous times in the chest area and twisted his right ear, police said. Boyd-Radford continued asking questions the boy said he could not answer.
Boyd-Radford had the boy change into dry clothes and sent him out to play, police said.
The prosecutor in the case, Trista Hudson, recently was fired from her post after failing to reveal in an unrelated case that one of two alleged victims made up at least part of the accusations involving child molesting.
Prosecutors asked Monday for a three-year jail sentence for Boyd-Radford, with all but 90 days suspended and to be served on probation. They requested that Boyd-Radford be required to attend anger management classes.
Defense attorney Larry Rogers, who lauded Bradford for doing what he said is the right thing in the case, had asked for no jail time.
He said Boyd-Radford poses no threat to the community and already has lost his livelihood as a result of the accusations.
Rogers also asked the judge to do away with the felony count because of the limitations it would place on his client’s life.
Bradford set a status hearing in the case for 9 a.m. Sept. 12 and reminded Boyd-Radford that he remains free on the conditions of his bond.