Saturday, November 21, 2009

Parker-Broderick surrogacy case jury breaks

ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio – The jury in the trial of an Ohio police chief accused of breaking into the home of a woman who carried twins for Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick ended five hours of deliberations Friday without a verdict.

The jury in the case of suspended Martins Ferry Police Chief Barry Carpenter began deliberations about 4:30 p.m. and ended for the day five hours later. Deliberations are expected to resume Monday morning.

Carpenter is accused of taking items related to pregnancy and the surrogacy from the home and scheming with the police chief of a neighboring town to sell them to celebrity photographers.

Earlier Friday, a prosecutor in closing arguments said Carpenter abused his authority and tried to "blame it all on being a joke."

Carpenter testified Friday that he never discussed selling items from the home to paparazzi. He went into the woman's home after he saw a basement door open while on routine patrol and took a photo of a surrogacy file that contained two ultrasound pictures and of a plaster cast of a pregnant stomach. He says he showed the photo of the cast to paparazzi and to several other people.

When his lawyer asked if he was just "messing" with the photographers, Carpenter said "absolutely."

Assistant Attorney General Emily Laube argued to jurors that Carpenter never filed a police report about Ross' home.

Carpenter "abuses his authority ... and tries to blame it all on being a joke," she said.

Defense attorney Dennis McNamara said Carpenter made bad choice.

"Barry admits that he acted very stupidly, but denies that he acted criminally," he said.

Carpenter testified that he met with the photographers after being called by Police Chief Chad Dojack of Bridgeport.

"I walked up, and the first thing I told them is, 'You're wasting your time,'" Carpenter said.

He testified that he had looked inside the surrogacy file when he was in the home out of "general interest" and said he did not go through other personal items.

He said he never took anything out of the home.

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