May 22, 2005

Witness hospitalized with illness; minister's molestation trial delayed

Delta Democrat Times


A witnesses' illness led to a delay in a sexual battery case being tried last week in Washington County Circuit Court.

Proceedings will resume Monday, Circuit Judge Richard Smith ordered.

The defendant, Michael F. Palmer, 41, is a Baptist minister from Leland. He is accused of molesting two stepdaughters. The girls, now ages 13 and 15, were 10 and 12 when the alleged molestation began. According to testimony, the acts continued for about 18 months before law enforcement was notified.

The trial began Wednesday.

Smith said Friday that the court was informed that a witness is ill.

"One of the witnesses is hospitalized at this time, and I'm continuing the case until Monday," he said. "On Monday, I will assess the situation, and hopefully the witness will be out of hospital and able to be here."

Prior to the continuance, the alleged victims and several other state witnesses told a Washington County Circuit Court Jury about incidents in which Palmer allegedly touched the girls in private areas. The younger girl told about Palmer getting on top of her several times and having intercourse.

Posted by kshaw at May 22, 2005 08:02 AM