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Defendant to testify in sexual abuse of minor case

The defense will presents its case Thursday in the third day of the trial of a Westminster man charged with sexual abuse of a minor.

Senior Assistant State's Attorney Amy Blank Ocampo said the state had presented the bulk of its case against Walter Richardson Humple Jr., 55, when the court recessed early Wednesday evening. Her only remaining witness is the forensic analyst who will present information about DNA evidence.

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Defense attorney Samuel Nalli said that he plans to present six witnesses Thursday, including the defendant.

Nalli had his first chance to cross-examine the alleged victim Wednesday at the conclusion of Ocampo's direct examination.

On the first day of trial, the alleged victim, who was 15 years old at the time of the alleged abuse, testified that sometime in 2011 she began to develop a close relationship with Humple and they would speak on the phone, go out to eat and otherwise spend time together.

In early 2012, the relationship became sexual when Humple kissed her and the two went to Humple's residence and engaged in intercourse, she said.

On cross examination, Nalli asked the alleged victim, now 17, whether she had been truthful in her answers throughout the investigation.

"Not completely," she said.

Nalli questioned the victim extensively regarding inconsistencies between her first interview with Maryland State Trooper Danielle Barry, in January 2013, and her later statements and testimony.

The victim testified that she originally told Barry that the first instance of inappropriate contact occurred in February 2012 when she and Humple kissed and that the first instance of sexual intercourse occurred in August 2012.

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When questioned by Nalli, the victim said, "That's what I said at that time."

The victim later said that she had not given Barry full and complete details at first because she did not want Humple to get into trouble.

Nalli also elicited testimony about the habits of the victim's family members, including the fact that she was living with up to five relatives, many of whom did not leave the house often. Nalli questioned the victim's statements that she and Humple allegedly engaged in intercourse when no one was home both before and after Humple began living in the residence.

On re-direct, Ocampo asked the victim for details about how the victim and Humple avoided being caught by family members when one or more were home. The victim said that Humple allegedly fixed her door so that it did not squeak and took special care to walk up the stairs, which creaked in places, in a way to avoid making noise.

Nalli attempted to show that the victim had motive to falsely accuse Humple.

Humple reported a relationship the victim had with an older man to the police, which she said upset her at the time.

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He also allegedly refused to tell police that an assault which occurred in the home for which the victim was arrested was started by other family members.

At the request of family members, Humple screwed the victim's bedroom window shut to keep her from sneaking out.

The victim first reported the alleged abuse to her foster parents less than one month after being removed from the family home. Nalli asked the alleged victim if she reported that Humple sexually abused her to avoid being sent back to her home because she preferred her foster family. She denied such allegation.

After the court recessed Wednesday, Nalli said that his goal on cross examination had been to show inconsistencies in the alleged victim's various statements to police and before the court.

"I showed that she told three different stories at three different times," he said.

Barry also testified Wednesday about her part in the investigation. She and a colleague interviewed Humple in his home and with the homeowners' consent seized the bedding from the room the victim had been using prior to her relocation to foster care.

Ocampo played the audio recording of the Jan. 11, 2013, interview for the jury. During the recording, Humple told Barry that he was aware that the victim was claiming that he "supposedly sexually assaulted her."

In the interview, Humple responded to the allegation that he had intercourse with the victim by saying, "That's impossible." He went on to explain that since the deterioration of his relationship with a former fiancee more than two years prior, he had been impotent and unable to have intercourse.

He also said he did not think that anything he had said or done to the alleged victim could be misconstrued as sexual.

According to Barry, Humple cooperated with the investigation and denied all allegations, but when she went to his residence to execute an arrest warrant, he allegedly did not answer the door and was found in a bathtub with the shower curtain drawn.

The state will conclude its presentation of the case Thursday, according to Ocampo. Then Nalli will present his witnesses. Both attorneys said that they expect to be finished and for the jury to begin deliberations late Thursday.

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