After about six hours of deliberations, a jury at the Howard County Circuit Courthouse Wednesday found an Ellicott City barber accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old client not guilty, according to the Howard County State’s Attorney’s Office Spokesman Wayne Kirwan.
Jung Gon Kim, 54, is the owner and sole employee of Sounds of Scissors Salon in Ellicott City. and faced one count of second-degree sexual assault and one count of third-degree sexual assault; a third charge was dropped Tuesday.
The lack of physical evidence was a sticking point in the case.
“I don’t know what I think,” a male alternate juror who did not want to be named said after his dismissal. “With the lack of evidence …”
The other alternate, a female who also did not want to be named, said that she would have needed to bounce ideas off of other jurors before she could be sure – beyond reasonable doubt, which is the legal benchmark for a guilty finding.
“We’ve got to use a lot of common sense,” she said.
Kim did not take the stand in his defense, but he did stand in front of the jury mid-way through his lawyer’s hour-long closing statements.
“Take a good, hard look at an innocent man,” Samuel Delgado told jurors.
State’s Attorney Jennifer Ritter encouraged jurors to use their “intuition” in making a decision.
“Apply your common sense in evaluating the evidence,” she told jurors. “[The accuser] has nothing to gain and yet he risks so much.”
Delgado in his closing statements, implied that the accuser had much to gain – from diverting his father’s strict disciplinary measures after he had been suspended for a day for stealing at school -- to getting free hair cuts
Delgado also took aim at the Howard County police department, which failed to try to lift fingerprints from a table that the alleged victim said he touched during the assault.
that not collecting that evidence was her oversight.
“I just didn't think of it,” she had testified the day before on why she hadn't directed the crime scene technician to fingerprint the table.
Delgado also attacked all of Ritter’s “corroborating evidence,” calling it “non-evidence,” and telling the jury that they corroborate assertions all the time, every day. “If I say I have a beautiful silver ring,” he said, what do you do? “You look at my hand, at least three of you there did.” He paused.
Ritter displayed a poster board with a list of facts and testimony that, she told the jury, corroborated the now 14-year-old alleged victim’s account of his assault.
She argued that the fact that the alleged victim cited incidents going back months, that his knowledge of the layout of the room where he said the assault took place and his willingness, as a teenage boy, to go through the medical exam associated with sexual assault, all corroborated his assertion that Kim had assaulted him.
Her corroborating evidence also included expert testimony from a doctor who concluded that after an examination, the boy showed no signs of trauma, but added that that did not preclude him from having been assaulted.
"It was a stretch," the male alternate juror said of the state's closing argument.
Both alternates said they were glad to have been dismissed.
“I’ll tell you what," the male alternate said as he left the courthouse, "I’m glad I didn’t have to be there, making a decision.”