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Judge to rule Wednesday on motions in George case

Previous convictions, taped testimony of kids considered

Published: Tuesday, May 27, 2014 1:54 p.m. CST • Updated: Tuesday, May 27, 2014 2:00 p.m. CST
Caption
Charles T. George

DIXON – A Lee County judge will rule Wednesday whether he will allow prior domestic battery convictions and video interviews with children to be presented in the trial of a Dixon man accused of causing his daughter's death.

Judge Ronald Jacobson heard arguments on several motions today.

Lee County State's Attorney Anna Sacco-Miller and Public Defender Bob Thompson addressed whether Charles T. George's prior domestic battery convictions and video interviews with two children living with George at the time of

Several motions in the case against a Dixon man accused of killing his daughter by shaking her were argued in Lee County court.

Charles T. George, 36, is charged with four counts of aggravated battery of a child, and one count of aggravated domestic battery of a child, stemming from the September 2010 death of his daughter, 3-month-old Tamari George.

A charge of first-degree murder against George was dropped May 5 because it had been added to his indictment more than 120 days after his original demand for a speedy trial, Lee County State's Attorney Anna Sacco-Miller said.

On Tuesday, Sacco-Miller and Public Defender Bob Thompson made their arguments to Judge Ronald Jacobson about whether George's prior domestic battery convictions and video interviews from two children living with George at the time of Tamari's death should be allowed to be presented during the trial, which could begin in 2 weeks.

This afternoon, Jacobson planned to review the 2010 taped interviews, which Sacco-Millers said include the children describing George hitting them.

Jacobson will make his ruling at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

The first domestic battery conviction dates back to 1998, and Thompson said that it and the others should be considered too remote to be allowed. Allowing those convictions to be discussed, Thompson said, would be prejudicial to the jury and remove the presumption of innocence.

Sacco-Miller argued that because the convictions included a jail term, it shortened the time George was living among the general population and able to commit domestic abuse. It also, she said, shows George's strength and motive and that the previous domestic abuse were the result of him angering quickly and being jealous.

Thompson argued that since the previous convictions weren't against children, there is less relevance.

The taped interviews were with two children, both 4 years old at the time, who were living with George and his girlfriend in 2010.

The interviews, done at Shining Star Children's Advocacy Center in Dixon by a trained child interviewer, could be used if the children are unable to testify in court, Sacco-Miller said, adding that one of the children has difficulty discussing the events of Tamari's death.

Thompson didn't argue against the video interviews, but did say he would be prepared to make an objection if it came to that during the trial.

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