At 6:25 p.m., the judge and lawyers reassembled at the Glynn County Courthouse. The jury had three questions — it wanted a clarification about communications sent when defendant Tyler James Coen was in jail, whether a student of interest had login credentials to Snapchat and why that student wasn’t called to testify.
The court returned a response that it couldn’t provide answers to these questions.
Jurors continued debating Coen’s guilt at press time Wednesday, unable to at that point to come to a conclusion on three counts that resulted in a hung jury five months ago.
Coen stands accused of two counts of child molestation and one count of electronically furnishing obscene material to minors. He allegedly send pornographic material to two boys younger than 16 through Snapchat, a mobile phone app.
The court took a fair amount of time before the lunch break deciding on whether the student of interest could be called as a rebuttal witness by the prosecution. District Attorney Jackie Johnson said the defense was trying to pin their arguments on the child — that in one manner or another, the student kicked off and further coordinated manufacturing the scandal as a way to get Coen fired from his job as a teacher at Glynn Middle School.
The argument being, the student should be allowed to testify after having been accused in this way.
Defense attorney Tom Withers said the prosecution structured its case from the start to get around dealing with the student, and moreover said in a pretrial hearing this summer that they didn’t intend to call the student.
The prosecution’s response was that the defense opened that door by describing how the student allegedly made up this controversy out of whole cloth.
The debate went back and forth in this manner, along with discussions about who should have had what documents related to the student and when. In the end, Superior Court Judge Anthony Harrison called a halt to it and said that this issue should’ve been raised while it was still presided over by Judge Roger Lane, or at the very least brought up Tuesday. But, in light of the timing and the defense arguments, the student would not be allowed to testify, and the jury was told that a witness was not allowed to take the stand.
Harrison further instructed Withers not to mention the student not testifying and why the prosecution wasn’t able to call him to speak.