A St. Mary’s County jury has found a father guilty of the two counts of sexual abuse of his daughter, who was three years old at the time of the alleged crime. After the verdict was issued Wednesday, Donald Millsaps, III, 34, was incarcerated pending a pre-sentence investigation. Judge Michael Stamm presided over the trial.
The trial, which started with jury selection on Tuesday afternoon, hinged on who the jury believed. Millsaps’ story was told to the jury through the playing of a tape and the providing of the tape’s transcript. The recording device was rolling during the entire process of Millsaps being picked up at his Callaway home, transported to the Sheriff’s Department Criminal Investigation Division office and being questioned in an interrogation room by Maryland State Police investigator Detective Jordan Stern.
Millsaps did not testify and the defense did not put on any witnesses.
The victim, however, did testify. She is now six years old and in kindergarten. Her testimony featured a number of contradictions from an obviously nervous child. But one point of her testimony was very clear: her father sat on her in the bathroom, attempted to put his penis in her mouth, ejaculated on her face and the ejaculate went into her mouth.”
The girl had to have the judge go through a series of questions to get her to understand she needed to tell the truth and that she understand the difference between truth and lies. She also had trouble remembering the timeline of the incident, at one time saying it occurred 40 months ago. She also was unable to point out Millsaps, who was sitting right in front of her as she testified.
Assistant State’s Attorney Julie White explained why that might have happened: “Maybe it was just too much to claim that man as her father because of what he did to her.”
Millsaps changed his story several times during the taped interview. At one point he said “I never did that. Never, never would I do something like that. I am not that type of person,” adding “I never touched my daughter. Not like that, nothing sexually.”
But later in the interview, on persistent questioning by the trooper, Millsaps admitted he was in the bathroom masturbating and his daughter came in and when he turned around her mouth was open and the penis may have entered her mouth.
The only other person to testify for the state was the girl’s mother, who identified Millsaps as the girl’s biological father.
White in her closing argument made much of the fact that Millsaps had changed his story but the final version was an admission that the event had occurred.
Millsaps attorney Public Defender Gerald Rivielllo said, “We all want to protect children,” but he said the case revolved around the believability of the girl’s testimony, pointing out the inconsistencies. He said the state did not put on any evidence of physical force or any evidence from psychiatrists, which were alluded to during the interview by the state trooper. “The detective (in the interview) keeps talking about physical evidence. Where is it?” the attorney asked.
The jury found Millsaps guilty of the two charges placed against him: Sex Abuse of a Minor, and Sex Offense, Second Degree.