Jury finds Buckhannon man not guilty on all 15 charges in recent trial

BUCKHANNON – A Buckhannon man who was indicted on 15 felony charges alleging he sexually abused his teenage stepdaughter was found not guilty in Upshur County Circuit Court last week.

William David Brown, 45, had been indicted during the September 2019 term of Upshur County Grand Jury. Following a two-day trial Sept. 23-24, an Upshur County jury found Brown not guilty on all 15 counts in front of 26th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Jacob Reger.

When reached for comment Wednesday, Brown’s attorney, James Hawkins, said the jury deliberated for less than an hour.

“This allegedly occurred over a three-year period of time, but from the beginning, he has steadfastly maintained his innocence,” Hawkins told My Buckhannon. “When he testified, it was very convincing. I think, by the end of it, the attending circumstances did not support the allegations.”

Hawkins surmised Brown’s lack of criminal history and any corroborating evidence likely played a role in the jury’s verdict.

“The allegations weren’t supported by anything from a medical, physical or forensic standpoint,” Hawkins said. “Mr. Hinkle (Upshur County Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Hinkle) did a good job, but [the end result] was just related to the nature of the case. Mr. Brown had literally been facing life in prison.”

Brown faced three counts of incest, a felony, and 12 counts of sexual abuse by a parent, guardian or person in position of trust, also a felony.

Brown himself also contacted My Buckhannon, saying he wanted to clear his name.

“I just want to let people know I was found not guilty because I was in the newspaper while I was locked up in jail four different times, and of course, the stories didn’t say anything nice,” he said. “I just want to clear my name.”

Brown said his attorney advised him the verdict opens the door for him to potentially regain custody of his biological daughter, who is 11 years old. After spending 18 years as a coal miner, he’s also looking to get back to work, he said.

Upshur County Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Hinkle noted the case had been pending for two years.

“Obviously, my office is disappointed in the outcome, but we accept the jury’s decision,” Hinkle stated. “The jury was not satisfied of the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and they found him not guilty.”

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