Criminal DefenseState v. Contreras – Not Guilty

October 23, 2020

DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -A jury on Friday found 53-year old Joe Alfredo Contreras not guilty on seven sex charges but failed to reach a verdict on five other counts.

Contreras had faced 13 felony charges, including Sodomy and Sexual Abuse, that stemmed from his 2018 arrests on allegations he had molested seven girls, some younger than 12.

In a direct verdict of acquittal, Circuit Judge Larry Anderson dropped one of those charges, ruling prosecutors failed to present sufficient evidence of guilt.

Contreras’ trial became the first in Houston County since March, when most court proceedings were halted due to the pandemic.

In a first, Anderson ordered prospective jurors to wear face shields, instead of masks, during jury selection and witnesses to also wear shields while testifying. Defense attorney Billy Joe Sheffield had sought both orders, calling the ability to observe facial expressions “vital.”

Anderson declared a mistrial on the five counts where the jury could not agree on a verdict after two days of deliberations. That means Contreras, who lives in Wicksburg, will likely be retried, possibly in 2021.

Dothan attorney Adam Parker also represents Contreras.

Credit Ken Curtis at WTVY. All rights reserved.
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