WaKEENEY — David W. Tidball was found guilty on all 10 counts in a case involving children in the Trego County Courthouse on Friday afternoon.
Tidball, 54, WaKeeney, was charged with three counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child, three counts of abuse of a child, aggravated intimidation of a child, lewd and lascivious behavior and two counts of promoting obscenity to a minor.
The attorneys gave their closing statements shortly after 8:30 a.m. Friday, the end of more than two days of testimony.
Lee Davidson, assistant attorney general, went through each count in his closing statement, explaining the evidence behind each count.
“It boils down to credibility,” Davidson said. “Do you believe Mr. Tidball or do you believe the kids?”
Defense Attorney Cheryl Stewart began her closing argument discussing the lack of evidence in the case.
“It’s not here, ladies and gentlemen,” Stewart said. “It’s just not here.”
Stewart discussed how the boys themselves testified the only time the defendant touched them was to apply medication or check an injury.
“There’s no evidence of sexual behavior there. He just took care of a child,” Stewart said.
Stewart also cited the lack of evidence for cruelly beating the children.
“Cruelly beating?” Stewart asked. “The cruelty aspect is just not present.”
Davidson addressed the jury one more time and pointed out that while Stewart wanted to discuss how much the family liked Tidball and all the good things he did with the children, that behavior fits right into how a sex offender operates.
“Their primary weapon in perpetrating these crimes is that love and trust ... they find opportunities for exploitation,” Davidson said.
Davidson told the jury they were responsible for how this story would end.
“The last chapter is yet to be written, and that chapter is justice,” Davidson said.
After approximately three and a half hours of deliberation, the jury returned to the courtroom with a verdict at 1:30 p.m.
Three of the victims sat in the front row of the courtroom with their families.
District Court Judge Glenn R. Braun read the verdict.
“On Count One, aggravated indecent liberties with a child, the jury finds the defendant guilty,” Braun began.
The jury found Tidball guilty on all 10 counts.
Following the trial, Lee Davidson said he was happy with the verdict.
“I think they found the children credible ... I think they delivered a just verdict,” Davidson said.
According to Davidson, the first three counts of aggravated indecent liberties with a child are punishable under Jessica’s Law, with all three victims being under the age of 14 at the time. Each of those three counts holds a potential sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years.
Sentencing in the case will occur at a later date.