The jury in Christina Regusters' criminal case began to weigh the evidence against the alleged child rapist and kidnapper this morning. The first day of deliberations lasted 5 hours.
Judge Jeffrey Minehart gave the 12 jurors and two alternates their instructions. Just before lunch, the door closed to the jury room and 7 women and 5 men began sifting through the mountain of evidence.
Regusters is charged with six crimes -- aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury, involuntary deviant sexual intercourse with a child involving serious bodily injury, kidnapping, unlawful contact with a minor, unlawful restraint of a minor and concealing the whereabouts of a child. It's the burden of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to prove Regusters committed those crimes beyond a reasonable doubt.
Three hours into deliberations, the jury submitted a handwritten note and asked a question of the judge: "Could we please see the police and FBI interview of Christina?"
Minehart answered "no."
The jurors would need to rely on their recollections of the testimony.
Attorney Tom Kline, who is representing the victim in a civil case, said such a request is not uncommon because the statements were presented to the jury as part of the law enforcement testimony and not entered as evidence.
Regusters' statement on Feb. 7, 2013 to Philadelphia Police was signed by her and in the format of question and answer. Her statement to the FBI was a narrative of the interview written by the agent.
Regusters gave a second statement to the police on February 14. Defense attorney Fred Harrison Jr. successfully argued that that statement should not be admissible because Regusters had not been read her Miranda Rights.
Regusters is accused of abducting the victim from her school day care last winter in the Cobbs Creek neighborhood, sneaking her home in a laundry bag, hiding her naked underneath a bed and sexually assaulting her with a sharp object, repeatedly. The victim was then taken to a nearby park. Her 19-hour ordeal ended when she was found that next morning by a passerby.
The victim's mother took the stand with emotional testimony and pictures during the trial describing how the attack changed her daughter's life.
Prosecutors allege Regusters acted alone. She is the only person charged in the case. Regusters maintains her innocence. Her attorney, Fred Harrison, Jr., says other people were involved.