By: Meredith Kava SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News)—An elderly, black woman sat in the last row of the court room, alone and murmuring to herself, “Jesus take the wheel.”
She looked down and repeatedly uttered this phrase as her son, Justin Hymes, 39, sat just a few feet in front of her, waiting for Day 2 of his trial to continue in Judge Thomas Miller’s courtroom on Tuesday.
Hymes’ attorney, Eric Jeschke, declared to the jury that his client, who has been held at the Justice Center since March 2015 and is charged with predatory sexual assault and endangering the welfare of a child, is on trial based on false accusations by the victim.
“The victim’s story is inconsistent,” said Jeschke. “She has denied (her story) in the past, and (Hymes) has never been in trouble in his life.”
Assistant District Attorney Maureen Berry, on the other hand, argued that the the victim’s story is true. Berry described two sexual encounters between the victim, a then-6-year-old, and Hymes during the spring of 2009.
Hymes knew the victim before the alleged assaults took place, according to Berry.
Hymes is expected to testify sometime during the trial, according to Jeschke. The now 12-year-old victim will also testify at some point during the trial, along with a sexual abuse expert, a relative of the victim, and a Syracuse Police investigator, Clark Farry, according to Berry.
If found guilty, Hymes could face 50 years-to-life in prison, Berry said.