A former Emmett Township, Michigan, police officer has been acquitted of all rape charges against a 15-year-old relative. A jury of nine women and three men deliberated for eight hours before producing the verdict of not guilty Wednesday afternoon.
Troy Estree, 46, was charged with nine accounts of first degree sexual conduct with a minor relative between January and August 2014. If convicted, he faced a life sentence in prison.
Kalamazoo County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Stein told the jury that the girl was trying to establish a relationship with her estranged relative, but then testified he assaulted her sexually. The prosecutor also stated that the two witnesses testified the girl informed them about the rape months before she pressed the investigation. Additionally, both the teen and Estree have herpes and investigators were able to retrieve thousands of text messages from the perpetrator from the girl’s secret cell phone.
However the defense attorney accused the prosecutor of only showing portions of the email, leaving out context. She pulled out 28,000 pages from the girl’s Facebook page and said that some of the messages described in detail her interaction with another man which the victim has blamed on Estree. She further added that the girl accused the former police officer of having assaulted her in improbable places like her home when her parents were present, at a park and during a long ride while he was on patrol duty.
After hours of deliberation, the jury decided that there was not enough evidence to convict the former police officer.
"I think the jury got it right," defense attorney Josh Blanchard of Greenville said after the verdict. "They listened to the evidence and they took it pretty seriously. They reached the right verdict. Her story just didn't make sense."
The family of the now 17-year-old girl was unavailable for comment after the verdict. Estee remains charged with rape in a Kalamazoo County case involving another relative, this time a 33-year-old.