Byrd found not guilty in sexual assault case
“God delivered this verdict,” said attorney Robert Rice after a Matagorda County jury found a Bay City man not guilty of continuous sexual assault of child charges.
Jurors deliberated only 36 minutes before returning with a not guilty verdict in the case of Christopher Ryan Byrd, who had been accused of sexual molesting his son from 2006-2012.
“Hopefully now people can stop bashing my wife’s business,” said Byrd following the verdict. “They can all see that I’m not guilty of anything.”
The accuser claimed Byrd had molested him from 2006 through 2012, but the defense claimed the now 17-year-old man as a man who made up the claims in order to get back at Byrd. Byrd was facing a sentence of 25 years to life in prison if convicted and had turned down a plea deal for 25 years in prison.
Robert Rice, co-defense attorney for Byrd in the trial, admitted he was “scared to death” when the case was handed to the jury to decide Byrd’s fate.
“It is too easy to file a sex abuse charge on anyone,” Rice said. “This man was facing 99 years in prison so this was really scary. It takes a lot of courage to face a 99 year sentence and (Byrd) showed a lot of courage to take this to trial.”
Byrd maintained his innocence throughout the trial and after the verdict was delivered said he was glad this chapter was closed on his life.
“I knew I wasn’t guilty all the time,” Byrd said. “If I would have been guilty of this, I would have taken their plea deal of 25 years.”
In his closing arguments to the jury, co-defense council Shawn Roberts asked the jury for a quick return of a verdict.
“I asked them to take 15 minutes to return the verdict and as quick as they came back it showed me that they believed he was falsely accused of this crime,” Roberts said. “Hopefully, this verdict will go a long ways in restoring his reputation in this community.”
Byrd was arrested in 2018 on his way to work by Bay City Police and charged with continuous sexual assault of a child specifically his son from the age of six through the age of 12.
The accuser’s testimony during the trial was the focal point of the state’s case as the now 17-year-old took the stand and detailed information of the alleged sexual abuse while living in Bay City.
The accuser made his outcry Feb. 1, 2018 when he was 16 to his grandmother. It came during a state hearing on an insurance case for the accuser between the grandmother and Byrd. But Roberts during his cross-examination of the accuser introduced text messages between (the accuser) and Byrd in which the teenager was asking to move back to Bay City.
During closing arguments, Rice argued “there are many doubts when it comes to the case.”
“The state has not met the burden of proof that this case even happened,” Rice said.
During his closing statement, Roberts said the state attempted to use a lot of “smoke and mirrors and rabbit holes” to gain a conviction in this case.
“The state has not met the burden of proof in this case,” Roberts said. “There is no clear or convincing evidence in this case.”