Chritton guilty of child neglect

Jury unable to reach decision on 4 other counts

Published On: Mar 15 2013 11:03:19 AM CDT   Updated On: Mar 16 2013 12:00:05 PM CDT
Chad Chritton child abuse trial starved teen torture
MADISON, Wis. -

A jury released one guilty charge out of six brought against Chad Chritton, who is accused of starving and torturing his teenage daughter.

The jury found Chritton guilty of one felony count of neglecting a child with a consequence of bodily harm, and found him not guilty of one misdemeanor count of neglecting a child.

"I interpreted that to mean that they were only going to convict him once of neglect, not twice for the same type of conduct," William Hayes, Chritton's defense attorney, said of the verdicts.

Jurors were unable to reach a unanimous decision on the remaining four charges against Chritton, including first degree recklessly endangering safety, child abuse by intentionally causing harm, causing mental harm to a child and false imprisonment.

"They're tired.  They're stressed," Dane County Circuit Judge Julie Genovese said of the jury's deadlock. "They're not making any progress, then I don't think it makes any sense at this point to make them continue on either today or tomorrow."

Another count of failure to act in the sexual assault of a child was thrown out of the case earlier this week.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne declined to comment, noting the case is still open.

Chritton's sentencing will be delayed until Melinda Drabek-Chritton and Josh Drabek are tried.

The jury had asked Genovese earlier Friday afternoon for advice on a deadlock, noting it had a unanimous decision on at least one charge. Genovese asked the jury to make one more attempt at a unanimous decision on the remaining charges.

"Given that everybody's done the work, I do want to give them at least one last shot," Genovese said.

In the first few hours of its deliberation, the jury asked for pictures of the basement room the victim, known in court records as "SLC", lived in. The jury later asked for medical records related to the case and was told to rely on their notes and memory unless they could ask for something more specific.

Jurors began deliberations in Chritton's three-week trial Thursday afternoon. They worked for nearly nine-and-a-half hours before sending Genovese a note saying they couldn't agree on a verdict and asking if they could go home. The judge dismissed them for the night but told them to return Friday morning and continue their discussions.