Jury reaches verdict on 1 count in child abuse case, returns Friday

Child torture retrial continues with child abuse expert

Jury deliberates in Chritton child-abuse trial

A day after a Madison father took the stand for the first time, the jury in his retrial goes into deliberation.

Chad Chritton is accused of locking his teenage daughter in the basement and starving her down to 68 pounds.

The jury came to a verdict on one count Thursday before ending deliberations. The verdict is on one count of recklessly endangering safety, but the judge has not released the decision. The jury returns Friday morning.

Chritton told the judge and jury Wednesday the county and state should have done more for his daughter. He faces multiple felony charges, including first-degree reckless endangerment and child abuse.

Closing arguments were heard Thursday from both the prosecution and defense.

Chritton’s lawyer said he might be a bad parent, but not a criminal.

“You heard him talk about trying and failing. That’s not physical abuse of a child, that’s not mental harm, that’s not reckless endangerment, that’s not false imprisonment, it’s bad parenting,” Jessa Nicholson, Chritton’s lawyer, said.

The District Attorney’s Office said Chritton should be held accountable for his daughter’s condition.

“It’s about a person who thought he could commit these crimes against his daughter and get away with it; this cloak of mental illness, this cloak of health problems,” Dane County Assistant District Attorney Matthew Moeser said.

The girl, known as SLC in court documents, was found in February of last year and weighed 68 pounds.

During Chritton’s testimony Wednesday he lashed out in his testimony against Dane County Social Services, which he said didn’t help when it should have been obvious to them that he was unable to care for his daughter.

Jurors are deliberating four charges against Chritton right now. During his first trial in March it took a jury 20 hours to come back deadlocked on all but one neglect charge.