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Jury finds Chester man guilty of sex assault
Gary Britton, 60, of Chester was convicted of aggravated felonious sexual assault following his trial in Rockingham County Superior Court on Tuesday. (JAMES A. KIMBLE PHOTO)
The verdict came just before 4:30 p.m. in Rockingham County Superior Court, rejecting testimony by Britton, 60, that he never touched the girl.
Britton had already been arrested for failing to register as a sex offender, but a search of his computer led police to charge him with sexual assault and for being in possession of child sexual abuse images.
The victim testified that the assaults happened frequently, at least one or two times a week, beginning in March 1991 when she was 9 years old.
It continued for the next four years whenever she was alone with Britton, who once threatened to kill her, and on another occasion struck her with a phone book, according to her testimony.
Britton testified as the sole defense witness, denying he committed any wrongdoing.
“Tell her to change her story,” Britton said during the phone call.
The jury of eight men and four women began deliberating shortly after 3 p.m.
“This isn’t about guilt and innocence for him. It’s about survival,” Assistant County Attorney Brad Bolton told the jury during closing arguments.
The defense suggested that the girl’s testimony couldn’t be trusted, or meet the state’s burden of proving their case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Britton was arrested by Chester police on Sept. 21, 2011, for failing to register as a sex offender, and has remained in county jail awaiting trial in his separate cases.
On Tuesday, Britton was convicted of two counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault and two counts of felonious sexual assault.
Judge N. William Delker revoked Britton’s bail on Tuesday and said a sentencing hearing would be set once the two remaining cases were resolved.
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