Jury likely to begin deliberating child rape case today
October 11, 2007
The jury is expected to begin deliberations today after a final defense witness in the child molestation case against Gerald Karpe.
After the prosecution rested its case Thursday with testimony from the 8-year-old victim, the defense offered testimony from Karpe’s mother, and his adult nephew who said Karpe had never harmed him when he was a boy.
Keith Souls Jr., testified that he lived with the victim and his family and he grew up with Karpe.
Obviously uncomfortable on the stand, Deputy Public Defender Marcie Flygare asked Souls why he was apprehensive about testifying and he expressed how he felt about the boy, the boy’s siblings and parents.
“I love (them) very much,” he said.
But on direct examination from the defense, Souls told the jury that he’d seen pornography in the victim’s home, though he pointed out it was locked in the parent’s bedroom. And, on prodding from Flygare, Souls said the victim and his twin sister had asked him questions about an alleged sexual encounter they have accidentally witnessed between their parents.
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Souls said he never felt uncomfortable around Karpe and he spent a lot of time with his uncle “since I was in diapers to about 10 years old.”
Souls also said he often dropped in on his uncle unannounced and the door was never locked, nor did he ever see anything that would lead him to believe the victim was being abused.
“My uncle was my safe place,” Souls explained.
The defense also put on a rebuttal witness to talk about testimony from Carson City Detective Keith Bopko. On Wednesday, Bopko told the jury that during an interview, Karpe displayed signs of guilt by sweating, shifting his eyes and fidgeting – signs which Bopko said he learned in a number of interview and interrogation courses that pointed to guilt.
Retired Maryland State Trooper and now Public Defender’s Office Investigator Ralph Cabernagel, refuted Bopko’s analysis of Karpe’s behavior.
Cabernagel said he has taught courses on the subject, including to Carson City investigators – though Bopko never attended his class – and Bopko’s assertions, based on factual interview analysis, were not properly applied.
He also agreed with Flygare’s statement that “the strongest form of denial is saying ‘no’,” regardless of whether or not the word is drawn out, which Karpe did repeatedly when asked if he’d touched the boy.
Court resumes at 9 a.m.
• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1213.