UPDATE: Chritton guilty of felony child neglect - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Chritton guilty of felony child neglect


MADISON (WKOW)-- A Dane County jury has made their verdict in the trial for Chad Chritton. Jury members say they had been deadlocked since 4:30 pm Thursday afternoon.

They weren't able to make a unanimous decision on four of the six counts. They did however, find Chritton guilty for felony child neglect involving bodily harm. They decided he was not guilty for a lesser misdemeanor count of child neglect.

The judge said the remaining counts can be re-tried in Dane County court. District Attorney Ismael Ozanne says his office does plan to re-try Chritton for those counts.

Ozanne declined to comment about the outcome of this trial, but defense attorney William Hayes says he's happy the jury took their time with the case.

"I think what they're telling us is we weren't going to convict him of both. There was child neglect here. We're going to convict him once of child neglect and we think of that child neglect, that there was bodily harm involved," Hayes says.

The court decided that a re-trial for Chritton won't happen until after the trial for his wife Melinda Drabek-Chritton. She is facing many of the same charges he did. The court also decided to wait until the trial for Chritton's step son, Joshua Drabek, is completed. Attorneys say that process could take several weeks or months.

Chritton remains free under the pre-existing conditions on his bail.



UPDATE AT 8:20 p.m.

MADISON (WKOW) -- A Dane County jury has found Chad Chritton guilty on one felony count of child neglect and not guilty on a misdemeanor neglect charge; but jurors could not reach  unanimous verdicts on the other charges against him.

A mistrial was declared on those charges.

Chritton faced six counts of child abuse and neglect.  The jury deliberated for two days before reaching its decision.

Sentencing was delayed until after the trials of Chritton's wife and her son, who are also charged in connection to the alleged abuse of Chritton's daughter.

Updates and a live report tonight on 27 News at 10 after the WIAA basketball games.


MADISON (WKOW) -- After two days of deliberations, the jury in Chad Chritton's trial is still having trouble reaching verdicts on all six counts against him.

Late Friday afternoon, jurors sent a note to the court asking for advice in overcoming a deadlock. Chritton's trial lasted nearly three weeks, which means jurors have a lot of testimony and information to take into consideration.

Of the six child abuse counts Chritton faces, five are felonies. The Judge asked jurors Friday if they had reached a verdict in any of the counts and the answer was yes. It's still not clear how many they agree on.

"Given that everybody's done the work, I do want to give them at least one last shot to try and reach a verdict on any of the outstanding counts," Dane County Judge Julie Genovese said. She also mentioned a mistrial would result in a lot of time and expense.

The jurors were brought back into the courtroom, given supplemental instruction, and returned to deliberations.


MADISON (WKOW) -- Jurors in the trial of a Madison man accused of abusing his daughter started deliberating just after 10 a.m. Friday morning. Attorneys were called back into the courtroom at around 11:15 a.m. because the jury asked to look at more photos of the victim and her room in Chritton's home.

Stay with 27 News at wkow.com for the verdict. Danielle Lama will have live reports from the courthouse at 5 & 6.


MADISON (WKOW) -- A verdict has not been reached yet in a trial of a Madison man accused of starving and neglecting his teenage daughter, even though jurors deliberated into the early morning hours Friday.

Jury members stopped deliberating around 1 a.m. Friday morning.  They are expected to start back up Friday around 10 a.m. Authorities told the two alternate jury members they do not have to come back on Friday.

Towards the end of the deliberation Thursday night, attorneys were called into the courtroom to answer questions from the jury. The first few questions were to clarify specific terms used in the jury instructions. 

It became obvious how far away the jurors were from a decision when they asked the judge and attorneys "Does a not guilty verdict have to be unanimous?"  Several minutes later, they also asked "What do we do if we cannot agree and people won't budge?"

Around 12:38 a.m., jurors told the court they were getting very tired and worried about driving home. They asked if they could rest for the night and continue Friday morning.

Stay with 27 News and wkow.com for the verdict.


MADISON (WKOW) -- A verdict could come down late on Thursday in a trial for a Madison man accused of starving and neglecting his teenage daughter.

The jury now has the case in the trial of Chad Chritton. Chritton, 41, faces six counts of child abuse, including neglect and false imprisonment. He's accused of keeping his daughter, known as SLC, in the basement with no food or a bathroom. She was found last February weighing less than 70 pounds, after escaping her family's home in Madison.

Thursday morning the jury heard closing statements from Assistant District Attorney Matthew Moeser, who recapped the more than two weeks of testimony heard in their case.

Moeser asked the jury to consider whether Chritton's actions & choices were reasonable throughout the time SLC lived with him, and talked about how far she's come since she has been in foster care.

"[SLC]'s in a place where somebody cares for her and provides for her, that's what she needed," says Moeser.

Defense attorney William Hayes focused on the credibility of Chritton's daughter's testimony about what happened to her, saying she has contradicted herself repeatedly.The defense still maintains SLC had an eating disorder, multiple personalities and abandonment issues.

"This is a search for the truth, a search for the truth," says Hayes. "And the truth is that we had a little girl that had problems early on in life and we knew it."

The prosecution's witnesses have talked about a different diagnosis-- post traumatic stress disorder from trauma experienced at home.

After a rebuttal closing statement from the prosecution, jurors got the case around 3:15 p.m. Thursday. They could deliberate late into the night or into Friday morning.

Tonight on 27 News at 5, 6 & 10, Jennifer Kliese will recap closing statements. Stay with 27 News and wkow.com for the verdict.

Powered by Frankly