Jury acquits man on child abuse charges
A man acquitted on two counts of child abuse wanted to testify to what happened in a Gardnerville garage between Aug. 1 and Sept. 22, 2018, that led to the charges.
Defense attorney Karena Dunn said it was unusual for a defendant to take the stand in a trial.
“Mr. Sharpsteen wanted to testify, and I believe he needed to testify,” she said. “He wanted to tell the jury that ‘I was there. I was trying to help my son. I never told him to put a gun to his head. I did have a conversation with him about suicide, but I was trying to save my son,’ and that was what he conveyed.”
Dunn said that unlike many child abuse cases, there was never a claim that Sharpsteen hurt the 12-year-old boy.
She said the jury came back within an hour of getting the case on Friday.
“Obviously we were very happy with the outcome,” she said. “I was thrilled to see my client hug his son for the first time in over a year. I’m happy that once the jury saw the evidence, they came to what we believe was the correct conclusion.”
After Sharpsteen took the stand in his own defense Jan. 30 both the prosecution and the defense rested.
The victim testified that his stepfather had him hold a pistol to his head to teach him that suicide wasn’t a joke.
The Gardnerville boy was 12 when Sharpsteen allegedly also had him write his name on one bullet and “dad” on another.
Prosecutor Matt Johnson showed the jury the bullet with the boy’s name on it and then called the boy to the stand.