Jurors went home Tuesday evening to ponder several twists in the testimony of a woman whose 11-year-old daughter allegedly performed oral sex on a family friend.
Attorneys defending Ricky Eugene Luke focused not so much on the woman's testimony as on her reaction to the charges leveled against a man she had become fond of.
This is the second trial for Luke, 40, who faces life without parole i
f his jury of four men and two women convicts him of sexual battery on a child under 12 years old.
A mistrial was declared the first time around when a prosecution witness inadvertently mentioned that Luke also faces a charge of tampering with a witness.
The defendant told investigators that the alleged victim fabricated the incident and set him up because she was mad at him
As investigators, deputies and crime scene technicians attempted to examine the house, however, the mother made their work difficult.
St. Johns County Deputy Eugene Tolbert said the woman would not complete an affidavit and insisted on talking to a lawyer.
Deputy Jennifer Ferraro, a crime scene technician, said she wasn't able to complete her work because the woman "distracted" her.
Several officers treated her with "a certain amount of disdain," the woman testified.
She testified that, when she asked investigators to leave her home around 2:30 the next morning, they put her in handcuffs and made her sit in a police cruiser.
"They said I was a piece of crap Mom because I wasn't cooperating with this investigation," she told defense attorney Rob Fields.
The woman told Fields that she never doubted her daughter's story
"I knew ... I knew it in my heart ... he did it
," she said, getting testier the longer Fields cross-examined her.
However, the mother also visited Luke at the jail
, where they discussed the possibility of getting an attorney who could get his bond reduced.
She told Fields that she "visited" Luke another time through a closed-circuit television hookup at the jail.
"I tried to comfort him with my words, told him to make the best of his situation," she told the defense attorney.
Part of that comfort, she conceded, was to show Luke her cleavage.
Why? asked Fields.
"I have great cleavage," she replied.