It took a little over an hour to seat 12 members of a jury and one alternate Tuesday morning, the start of a three-day jury trial against Franklin L. Engle, 35, Warsaw. The trial is being held in Kosciusko Superior Court 1. Engle has been charged with two counts of sexual misconduct with a minor, both class B felonies.
The day concluded at 4:15 p.m. following testimony from witnesses for the state. Mike Miner, deputy prosecuting attorney called to the stand Warsaw Police Det. Brad Kellar, who was a county deputy at the time, and Det. J.D. Ayers, mothers of the two victims and the victims themselves.
The trial resumes this morning at approximately 8:30 a.m.
Kellar described how the investigation began and his involvement. Ayers described the process of interviewing the mothers of both victims, the victims and the suspect.
While the two victims appeared to remain calm on the stand, one mother became emotional during testimony. The other mother’s emotion were displayed after she walked out of the courtroom.
Explicit details of the assaults were heard during testimony.
Events began around May 28, 2012. Both victims attended a family camp-out at their grandparent’s home near Mentone. The first crime involved a 14-year-old being touched inappropriately, having her touch him inappropriately, ending in anal sex.
The second alleged misconduct occurred with a 15-year-old several months later. This alleged crime occurred in the sleeper of Engle’s semitractor, at a truck stop in Gary. Engle was bringing the young teen home from visiting grandparents in Wyoming.
No adult was told of the allegations until questioned by police in the fall of 2012.
The investigation began in November 2012. Engle’s former wife, Ashley, brought disturbing messages to police that she found on several electronic devices. One such message indicated the sender (assumed to be Engle) had sex with relatives. Several other messages, including an alleged conversation with a 12-year-old.
Questioned by Engle’s attorney, Samuel Bolinger, both officers stated it was not verified who sent the messages. Yet testimony was heard that Engle and his former wife were the only ones with access to the computer.
Ayres testified Engle was calm when confronted with accusations. To Ayers this was concerning. His past experience has been innocent suspects would become exited if not mad when confronted.
Mothers of the victims were questioned as to when they became aware of the alleged crime and what they were told. Cross examination by Bolinger focused on their relationships with their daughters, if the daughters had ever fabricated or lied to them and how often their daughters communicated amongst themselves.
One mothers testified she noticed a behavioral change in her daughter, cutting herself off from family, becoming depressed and recently learning her daughter was “cutting” (a form of self-injury by making small cuts on the body).
The victims stated they did not tell any adult because they had felt ashamed.
Conflicting reports regarding some of the events were brought out in testimony by both girls during Bolinger’s questioning.