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11:20 P.M. UPDATE: McKellips case in the hands of the jury


UPDATE: As of 11:20 p.m., the jury is still deliberating.  The jury earlier asked for and received exhibits including photos of a house where some of the incidents allegedly happened and also a transcript of certain text messages.  At 11:10, Judge Moran denied another request for a different exhibit of text messages.  Both the defense and prosecution were concerned about  showing the jury certain parts of that exhibit that were not used in the trial.  Judge Michael Moran ruled against allowing that exhibit to go to the jury room.  No decision on if the jury will deliberate much later this evening.  The earlier target time of 11:00 p.m. has passed, and the jury wants to keep going for now.


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- The trial for a former basketball coach accused of sexually assaulting a former player has gone to the jury.

54-year-old Rory McKellips was the coach at Athens, and Mosinee before that. He is charged with repeated 1st or 2nd degree sexual assault of the same child, who was then 15. McKellips is also charged with exposing his genitals, using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, and with obstructing an officer.

During closing arguments, prosecutor Theresa Wetzsteon reminded the jury about thousands of cell phone text and voice contacts between McKellips and the teenager, which continued after her parents learned about the contacts with a separate cell phone McKellips allegedly bought for the victim.

Defense attorney Thomas Brown argued that this was a relationship the teen wanted, and tried to hide it, but she got caught. He also explained to the jury that one of the sexual encounters described is highly unlikely because it would have taken place in front of a picture window in a living room where there was another person who would have seen the incident. Brown did tell the jury there’s no doubt his client is guilty of obstructing officers, but urged them to examine the evidence and find McKellips not guilty on the other three charges.

Wetzsteon emphasized on rebuttal that McKellips shows a pattern of sending letters or texts to develop a relationship, followed by gifts to the victim or family, continued efforts to gain trust, with sex as the eventual goal.

One of the first witnesses called in the trial claimed this could have happened to her, but she backed away from the uncomfortable relationship with the coach.

The eleven woman-one man jury began deliberations and dinner at 7:15 p.m. Friday. Exhibits were not sent to the jury room, but if they are requested, Judge Moran and the legal teams will meet to discuss which items are delivered before the jury would receive them.

Judge Michael Moran instructed legal teams to stay within ten minutes of the courtroom, in case the jury needs to see exhibits or if they reach a verdict. If the jury can’t decide Friday, deliberations will continue on Saturday.