Jury: Blanton not guilty
Former band instructor cleared of sex charge
Saturday, May 17, 2014 5:00 AM
A 12-member jury found Jacob Blanton, the former assistant band director at Madison Consolidated High School, not guilty on a charge of sexual misconduct with a minor.
The jury spent more than three hours deliberating Friday, considering testimony in the case against the 28-year-old who had been accused of forcing a band student to perform oral sex on him in 2010.
Robert Alden, Blanton's attorney, attacked the accuser's credibility during his closing argument.
Several defense witnesses testified that the accuser - who was 14 at the time - is deceitful and cannot be trusted. Another defense witness said the accuser told her she had given Blanton oral sex but later recanted that statement, saying she had made it up.
The girl, Alden said, did not seem to act as though she had been the victim of a crime, saying she showed "almost no emotion" on the witness stand as she testified.
"This is not the type of demeanor you expect from someone who's telling the truth," Alden said.
The accuser testified on Wednesday that she had performed oral sex on Blanton in three different rooms adjacent to the band room. Her accounts of the three incidents were exactly the same, including how the incidents started and how long they lasted.
"She doesn't care if she misconstrues this. She is a deceitful person," Alden said. He also found it difficult to believe that if the girl did not enjoy what was happening that she would continue to be alone with Blanton.
The Madison Courier does not identify people who are or allege to be the victims of sexual crimes.
During his closing argument, Chief Deputy Prosecutor D.J. Mote said several defense witnesses should not be trusted. Blanton contacted several former students on Facebook and had them come to his house to talk about the case, according to Facebook messages introduced as evidence.
Mote said Blanton provided information to several people in attempts to get several of his former students to work together.
"Jake fed these children a line. He fed them information," Mote said.
After his arrest, Blanton was dismissed from Madison Consolidated High School and could not gain access to equipment in his office that belonged to the Madison Independent drumline, meaning the group could not hold auditions. The organization folded shortly thereafter.
Mote believed the students had a vendetta against the accuser because her allegations had caused the award-winning drumline to shut down.
"These kids are devastated. (The accuser) took that away from them," Mote said.
Alden said the former students were talking with private investigators to gather information about the case to present a defense.
"The State acts like it's a sin to have private investigators go talk to people," Alden said.
Mote said the accuser had nothing to gain by going through all this work. She had to sit through interviews with police, prosecutors, the defense attorney and a children's advocate, as well as sitting in front of the jury and the public to retell the stories.
"Nobody's going to go through that unless it's the truth," Mote said.
The introduction of evidence concluded Friday morning when Blanton's wife, LaKynn Blanton, testified.
LaKynn Blanton's physical description of her husband did not match testimony provided by the accuser.
The accuser said Jacob Blanton had texted her about being beautiful. LaKynn Blanton said her husband never uses the word "beautiful," because of its use in a movie by an actor he dislikes.
"I've never heard him, in regards to anything, use the word 'beautiful,'" she said.
After the trial concluded, Mote called the verdict "devastating."
"We obviously didn't do our jobs, and our hearts go out to the victim in this case," Mote said in a statement. "She was very brave and hopefully can take some comfort in knowing she was strong enough to come forward."