Testimony concludes in criminal sexual conduct trial
Testimony concluded Wednesday in the trial of Harold B. Cartwright III, who is facing 27 charges related to his alleged habitual sexual abuse of three minor girls.
Cartwright is alleged to have committed sex crimes against three victims, aged 4 through 16, between 1989 to 2011.
On Tuesday, the alleged victims testified to years of frequent abuse by Cartwright.
Wednesday’s testimony began with the mother of one victim testifying that she had forced her daughter to recant her first claims of sexual abuse by the defendant.
When the defendant later took the stand, he repeatedly denied all the accusations, instead blaming the charges on his alleged victims looking to hurt him.
Cartwright testified that two of the victims were looking to get back at him for threatening to expose their participation in pornography. The defendant testified that he found pictures and videos of his youngest victim online; however, the victim and a Sheriff’s Office investigator both testified that the image is not of the alleged victim.
In cross examination, Deputy Solicitor Bill Weeks facetiously described Cartwright as an “incredibly lucky” man, as he found the pornographic pictures he claims feature his youngest alleged victim quickly.
“Out of the thousands of porn sites out there, you found (this victim)? Out of the millions upon millions of pictures?” Weeks said.
Cartwright claims his finding of the first picture of his alleged victim “was relatively quick ... the second site I looked at.”
Cartwright testified that he watched a report by talk show host Tyra Banks that 50 percent of teenagers had made pornographic movies. In response to this, Cartwright searched for pictures of young women he knew online, he testified. He claims that he found pictures and videos of one of his alleged victims.
Since his arrest on these charges, Cartwright has had the opportunity to find the images and videos he previously claims to have found. He produced two images in this search, which was monitored by an Aiken County Sheriff’s Office investigator and an assistant solicitor.
However, that investigator testified on Wednesday that he was not convinced by the images.
“I didn’t feel there was enough evidence to warrant further investigation,” Investigator Kristopher Evensen said. “I didn’t believe it was (the alleged victim).”
An expert witness, S.C. State Law Enforcement Division Forensic DNA Analyst Billy S. Gallman, testified that semen found on the bed sheets of the youngest victim matched Cartwright.
Gallman, who has testified as a witness more than 50 times, added that there is a 1 in 16 trillion chance of the profile not being the defendant.
“That is how rare this profile is,” Gallman said.
The defendant later said, “I know exactly how it got on that sheet.”
Cartwright said his semen was on the sheets after he had a sexual encounter with a women. However, he said that it was not in the victim’s room, it was in another room in the victim’s home.
Previously, the jury heard the mother of this victim testify that Cartwright had called her and asked her to wash the bed linens of the victim.
Thursday, the jury will be charged on the law, the defense and prosecution will offer closing arguments and then deliberation should begin.