Timeline, forensic evidence, video interviews reviewed during second day of Cotterman trial

Day 2 of Cotterman trial complete

By Alexandra Newman - anewman@aimmedianetwork.com



SIDNEY — Questioning of witnesses on the second day of Jackson Center Police Chief Joseph Cotterman’s trial centered around ironing out the timeline of events, hearing from forensic experts, and listening to video interviews done between Cotterman and the detective on the case.

Cotterman, 36, a Jackson Center resident, is accused of having sexual contact with a 19-year-old female on Jan. 27, 2016.

Cross examination of the victim continued first thing Wednesday morning. Defense Attorney Jeremy Tomb focused questioning on who’s business card was handed to the victim and her mother during the first meeting, who’s idea it was on the date of the alleged incident to have Cotterman take her to the sheriff’s office, and where the idea came from of the victim needing a cell phone.

The victim stated it was Jackson Center Police Lt. Chief Chuck Wirick’s card, but Cotterman wrote his phone number on the back of it. She stated Cotterman offered to take her to the sheriff’s office on the day of the alleged incident. When asked why no one else could take her she said he offered and didn’t think past that. The victim testified she had no idea why they stopped by his home that day, and that her cell phone worked when she was around Wi-Fi.

She was asked by Tomb why she went in to his home that day, “You willingly went into his house that day, is that correct? You could have walked home or could have had a smoke, but you went into the house.”

She testified Cotterman invited her into the house and he said she had to come in to the house because she couldn’t stay in the car with the police dog. Even though it was mentioned in earlier testimony she stayed in the car with the dog when they stopped by the Sidney Municipal Court earlier on the day of the incident.

Tomb further asked her once she was inside of the house, and Cotterman had allegedly made advances toward her, why she didn’t leave right away. “I was terrified,” the victim said.

The next witness called to the stand by the state was the victim’s mother. Questions from both Prosecutor Tim Sell and Tomb centered around her accounts of what happened the day of the incident and when she was in contact with her daughter.

The next witness called, deemed an expert, was the nurse who performed the sexual assault exam on the victim. She described how she collected samples from the victim’s cheek, neck, and ear, as well as front intimate area, and left buttocks.

She was asked to describe the victim’s emotional state during the exam, and how the fact no injuries were found on the victim was consistent with what the victim had described what allegedly happened.

Next the state called two Ohio Bureau of Investigation forensic scientists. They testified to the evidence they had been given to test by law enforcement. It was said during court the only conclusive results of Cotterman’s DNA found on the victim’s body was on her neck and ear. There were several other areas tested that didn’t offer a conclusive answer either way, like her buttocks, back of her underwear, and around her mouth. Cotterman’s DNA was excluded from samples of the front panel of her jeans, front of her underwear, and her front intimate area.

As other Defense Attorney Benjamin Eberly questioned the expert witnesses he tried to center his questioning around the fact a light or forceful touch can result in the transfer of DNA from one person to another.

They said, you don’t always get DNA from casual contact transfers, it depends on the person.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Detective on the case, Detective Chris Brown, testified lastly on Wednesday. Brown with the instruction of Sell, showed the jury video interviews he conducted with Cotterman later on the day of Jan. 27, and a few days later with his attorney present.

During the first interview, Cotterman denied having any physical contact with the victim. During the second interview he admitted to there being consensual kissing between him and the victim, and that he stopped when she pulled away from him. Cotterman said in the interview she didn’t say no, but stopped when she seemed to not be okay with what was happening.

In both interviews he stuck by the story they stopped by his house so he could give her a cell phone. Most of the details of Cotterman’s and the victim’s accounts were in fact very similar.

Something mentioned during Tuesday’s opening statements by Tomb touched on the idea Cotterman knew he didn’t behave totally professionally on the day of the incident, but didn’t think he did anything illegal. While Brown testified Wednesday, he said when a law enforcement officer transports a member of the opposite sex they are supposed to call in their mileage to dispatch, and Cotterman did not do that when he transported the victim on that day.

During his second interview with Brown, he apologized for not telling the entire truth the first time, and said “I know work wise, I did a whole lot of violations.”

Thursday morning’s proceedings will start with cross examination of Brown by the defense at approximately 9 a.m.

Day 2 of Cotterman trial complete

By Alexandra Newman


Reach this writer at 937-538-4825; Follow the SDN on Facebook and Twitter @sidneydailynews

Reach this writer at 937-538-4825; Follow the SDN on Facebook and Twitter @sidneydailynews