The Pryor Times

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August 3, 2013

Safari Joe found not guilty

(Continued)

PRYOR, OK —

Estes took the stand in his defense on Thursday. He provided the jury with background of his exotic animal business and his relationship with Simpson and the kids, describing it as “like a dad.” Estes testified that his relationship with Simpson ultimately soured because of “her excessive drinking.”
Estes said the incident L.J. alleged to have happened in the truck cab was “physically impossible” to have occurred.
He testified that the massage was professional and denied massaging the woman’s breasts, only her chest muscles, which was standard according to him. Likewise, he denied that his behavior with C.G. was ever sexual in nature.
“Did you sexually assault or rape by an instrument or touch inappropriately (L.J.)?” Monroe asked.
“No, never,” Estes replied.
“Did you ever touch (C.G.) in a sexually inappropriate way,” Monroe asked.
“No, never,” Estes replied.
During cross-examination, Hill reviewed the testimony of each witness, asking Estes repeatedly if the statements made by each woman was true or not true.
Estes answered over and over that he could not speak to what each witness considered as truth, but repeatedly denied that he could do anything like the things alleged by each witness.
In closing statements, Hill reviewed the State’s case to jurors.
“I told you Monday that you judge a tree by the fruit it bears,” Hill said. “I submit to you that in this case, it’s poison.”
Hill said that the defendant took the stand and had an opportunity to deny the charges, but repeatedly answered that he couldn’t say.
“The defendant can’t say, but I’ll say and you can say,” Hill said, then turned to look at Estes. “Where is the evidence that tells us it’s not true? Where is it?”
In the defense’s closing statement, Fields told jurors that Estes took the stand and opened himself up for scrutiny.
“He stood accountable to you,” Fields said.
The jury deliberated for under two hours before delivering the verdict of not guilty.
Estes broke down as the verdict was read.
“I just want to see my boys,” Estes said after the trial. “I love my boys and I love the people of Mayes County.”

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