WaKEENEY — The trial of a WaKeeney man facing multiple charges involving children was expected to go into the jury’s hands today.
David W. Tidball is 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.
Two male children, ages 10 and 11, took the stand to testify against Tidball on Thursday at the Trego County Courthouse.
Both children testified Tidball spanked them, both with his hand and with a belt, when Tidball watched them at his home and at the Potter’s Nook, his business.
The children said some of the spankings were with their pants down, on their bare bottoms.
Both children also testified Tidball touched them on private parts of their body; although, all of the times had to do with Tidball applying medicine or checking an injury.
The boys said they did not ask him to apply the medicine or check their injuries.
“Did Dave ever show you videos about how babies are made?” Lee Davidson, assistant attorney general, asked.
“Yes,” the 11-year-old said.
“Where did you sit when he was showing you the video?”
“On his lap,” he said.
“And what did Dave say to you?” Davidson asked.
“He said to promise not to tell anyone.”
“What did Dave tell you would happen if you told?”
“That he would go to prison,” the boy said.
During cross examination, Cheryl Stewart, defense attorney, questioned the boy about the incident when he was injured at wrestling practice and Tidball went with him to the restroom to help him check his private area.
“And he came back and told your mom that he felt it?” Stewart asked.
“Yes,” he said.
Stewart also questioned him about seeing Tidball touch his brother.
“Did he put the medicine on his butt?” Stewart asked.
“Yes,” the boy said.
“Did Dave do anything else?”
“No,” he said.
In his direct examination of the 10-year-old boy, Davidson asked how he felt when the Potter’s Nook was torn down.
“Happy,” he said.
Following testimony from the alleged victims, the state played an audio recording of Tidball’s interview with Assistant Chief Ashley Garza, WaKeeney Police Department.
The recording was approximately an hour and a half in length and contained information about the fact Tidball and his wife had a daycare in the 1990s as well as denials that he spanked the boys with a belt or touched them in any inappropriate way.
He also denied showing any of the boys pornography, at first.
At one point in the interview, he admitted to showing the oldest boy pornography to teach him about how babies are made.
Tidball also said he and the boy masturbated while watching the pornography.
Toward the end of the interview, he admitted to showing another boy pornography as well.
Garza asked Tidball in the interview why another man would now be coming forward saying Tidball also molested him in the past.
“That had to have been in the ’80s,” Tidball said. “I told his mother I was sorry and offered to pay for psychiatric appointments if he needed them.”
The state’s last witness was Susan Haxton, former jailer with the Trego County Sheriff’s Department, who testified about a suicide note Tidball passed to her following his interview with Garza.
In the note, Tidball said he had remembered some things, and that he just wants to say he is sorry and die.
The state rested its case shortly after 11:30 a.m.
After the lunch recess, Stewart addressed the jury in her opening statement.
“There is usually more than one way to look at things,” Stewart said. “Now you get to hear Mr. Tidball’s side to the story.”
The defense called the grandmother of the three younger boys to the stand.
She testified about the friendship that was built with Tidball after he opened the Potter’s Nook.
“I said he seemed like an uncle or a grandpa to them,” she said.
Stewart questioned her about whether they trusted Tidball to give one of the boys his ADHD medication while he was in Tidball’s care.
“Yes, we did. I don’t know if he always did it, but we trusted him to,” she said.
Stewart asked her if Tidball had ever told her he spanked the boys.
“He told me one time that (he) had been bad and he spanked him,” she said. “I told him I had even had to spank him before.”
“Had grandpa ever spanked the boys?” Stewart asked.
“Did their mother ever spank them?” Stewart asked.
“Yes, I think every parent or grandparent has at one time or another unless their children are perfect,” she said.
“So when David told you he spanked him, you didn’t turn him into DCF?”
“No, I didn’t,” she said.
The defendant took the stand next to explain his actions.
Tidball testified he showed the boys pornography one time because they had questions about sex.
He also admitted on the stand he masturbated in the presence of the oldest boy while watching pornography.
“I was a little creeped out by it,” Tidball said.
He also denied spanking the boys with a belt.
“Never, ever, ever,” he said.
He also said he never touched the boys other than to apply medication to those areas or check an injury.
Upon cross examination, Davidson reminded Tidball that on the audio tape, he denied showing pornography six times before ultimately admitting to it.
“Perhaps he was shown porn not in an educational way. Is that a possibility?” Davidson asked.
“No, that’s not possible,” Tidball said. “I was there.”
The defense called Linda Tidball to the stand.
She testified she and Tidball had been married for almost 25 years.
“Just to clarify, have you filed for divorce at this time?” Stewart asked.
“Yes,” she said.
Linda testified the children were very rough, and that Tidball had to discipline them at times to keep other children safe.
“Did you ever see him spank them with anything other than his hand?” Stewart asked.
“No,” she said.
The last two witnesses were character witnesses who testified about their experiences interacting with Tidball.
They each said they never saw anything concerning about the way he interacted with children in the shop.
One of those witnesses was a young man who had attended Tidball’s daycare as a child and had considered the Tidballs to be a second family.
The defense rested its case at approximately 3:30 p.m.
Closing arguments and jury instructions will begin at 8:30 a.m. today, with jury deliberations to follow.