A Murray County jury deliberated for just 17 minutes on Thursday before finding Thomas Rick Barker, 53, of 70 Hawks Way, Chatsworth, guilty of child molestation.
The jury of nine men and three women was selected on Monday and heard from 10 witnesses including three victims starting on Tuesday morning. The state’s case was presented by Assistant District Attorney Ben Kenemer with assistance from Special Agent Eric White of the Georgia Bureau of Investigations.
Two of the victims were interviewed at The GreenHouse, a child advocacy center serving Murray and Whitfield Counties. Barker was charged in a single count of child molestation related to one of the victims. The other two victims testified pursuant to evidence rules which allow the state to present evidence of other similar or related acts by an offender under certain circumstances and if approved by the Court prior to trial.
Barker was represented by Elise Williard and Jack Donlon of the Public Defender’s Office who called two witnesses on his behalf.
Barker did not testify.
Superior Court Judge Cindy Morris presided over the trail and scheduled a sentencing hearing for Aug. 25. Barker had been in custody since his arrest on Oct. 19, 2019, and will remain in custody pending his sentencing hearing. He faces up to 20 years in prison when sentenced.