UPDATE 2: Jury finds Stratton guilty of Lee sexual battery

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

UPDATE: 3:55 P.M.
TUPELO – A Lee County jury found Timothy Stratton guilty today of two counts of sexual battery on his wife’s granddaughter.
Stratton faces up to life in prison.
He will be sentenced later.
• • •
UPDATE 10:30 A.M.
TUPELO – Jury deliberations began this morning on the sexual battery trial of Timothy Stratton.
• Come back for developments.
• • •
TUPELO – A Lee County jury will decide if Timothy Stratton sexually assaulted his wife’s granddaughter in 2010 when the girl was 13.
The Tupelo man faces up to life in prison if convicted on the two counts for which he went on trial Monday.
Stratton and his attorney, William Stennett of Tupelo, insist he is innocent and that, if the girl were touched sexually as she claims, it was someone else, not him.
The jury of six men and eight women listened to a variety of testimony this week. Two of them will be designated alternates and will not be part of the final decision.
Judge Paul Funderburk, presiding over the trial in the Lee County Justice Center, will explain the law to the jury and then both sides will make closing statements before the jury retires to deliberate.
Stratton was indicted in February 2011 on accusations he had oral sex with the girl. She reported her claims of sexual contact to her school counselor, who notified Stratton and his wife, as well as authorities.
Wednesday, a 29-year-old male step-sibling testified that the girl told him nothing had happened between her and Stratton. On cross-examination, the man said she talked to him before the allegations were made to the authorities and that his father, the girl’s grandfather, told him about them.
The girl and several older siblings lived with the Strattons because their mother, Mrs. Stratton’s daughter, was dead. The Strattons married five years ago.
The girl, now almost 15, testified earlier this week that Stratton had her perform oral sex on him and then did it to her. Prosecutors say the girl is mentally challenged with the mental abilities of a 6-year-old.
Assistant District Attorney Brian Neely is the lead prosecutor in the case.
Wednesday, Stratton’s wife, Shirley, testified that her granddaughter never mentioned any inappropriate touching or actions by anyone, and that she believed the girl could have been coached by others or assaulted by someone other than her husband.
patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com