A trial of a Wellsburg man accused of sexually abusing a child was declared a mistrial after intended jurors heard introductory arguments from attorneys on both sides Tuesday afternoon.
After a lengthy hiatus, the jury was ready to hear from the first witness in the trial of Keith A. Wood, 67, from Wellsburg when the judge of the 1st judicial district, Michael Olejasz, told them that the attorneys involved could not believe the trial was fair happen.
With that in mind, the judge said the case will continue for the March term, which means it could be heard in March, April or May.
Brooke County Attorney Joseph Barki confirmed that the defense counsel’s opening arguments alluded to statements that were not admitted as evidence at the trial.
After clarifying the trial, Judge Olejasz urged both parties to review their position on the statements and see if they should be included in any future trial.
Wood has been charged with double first degree sexual assault and sexual abuse of a child in his care.
In his opening arguments, Brooke County’s assistant attorney general David F. Cross told jurors that Wood molested a 7-year-old girl he babysat in 2017.
Cross said the victim told her mother she was ill-treated while visiting Wood.
But William Galloway, Wood’s attorney, said the child told others the incidents occurred when she was three and involved a man with a beard whom Wood had never had.
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