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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Preteen testifies at sodomy suspect's prelim hearing

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  • A fair-skinned, slight of frame 12 year old, clutching a stuffed animal, took the witness stand at mid afternoon Tuesday, Aug. 5, in Marion County Associate Court at Palmyra, offering her testimony regarding events leading to the arrest of Christopher Przybylski in June for child molestation, a Class B felony, and statutory sodomy, an unclassified felony.
    The girl’s voice so slight that her words seemed to vaporize from her lips, she first answered questions delicately poised by Prosecutor David Clayton’s assistant, Kim Pulley.
    When Pulley concluded her questioning, she told the young witness, “Mr. Hoover will ask you questions now. Do the best you can.”
    Unemotional
    Przybylski, in his mid 40s, his salt and pepper hair and goatee cropped close, presented himself unemotionally before, during and after prosecution testimony, despite the obvious emotion and tension others were experiencing within the courtroom.
    Not even the 12-year-old’s tears during defense attorney Jonathan Hoover’s cross examination sparked a reaction from Przybylski, seated at the defense table, still cuffed and shackled and in county-issued orange garb.
    Courtroom
    outburst
    Prior to the start of Przybylski’s preliminary hearing, when court was in recess, a woman walked unnoticed to the untrained eye down the side aisle of the courtroom, to the jurors’ box, where the male jail inmates were seated. Reaching to within two arms length of the suspect, separated by Sheriff Jimmy Shinn, she  pointed to Przybylski and said: “You’re never going to hurt another child.”
    From the courthouse galley, a friend or family member cried out: “Susan! Susan!”
    Sheriff Shinn stood firm next to the suspect, while another woman led the crying woman back to her seat.
    The testimony
    Watching the 12-year-old testify was difficult, and even the seasoned judge, John J. Jackson, responded to back-to-back questions by the defense attorney with exasperation.
    “Don’t answer that,” Judge Jackson told the witness, raising his hands in the air, citing the questions’ irrelevancy at the preliminary hearing.
    Prosecutor Clayton objected to Hoover’s line of questioning.
    “Looks like Mr. Hoover is on a fishing expedition,” Clayton said.
    Supporters
    Two rows of supporters were on hand to support the young witness. Those on the row nearest to the witness stand each leaned forward with their arms resting on the bench in front, as if leaning forward could help them to grasp the words as they were spoken. The witness occasionally made quick, flinching half smiles when connecting eyes with her friends and family.
    Foster care
    Testimony revealed that the young witness is living in her fourth foster home since last November when she first reported the incident which ultimately lead to Przybylski’s arrest.
    Page 2 of 2 - Arraignment
    Judge Jackson found probable cause to bind over the case to circuit court. Arraignment is scheduled for 10 a.m. today, Aug. 6, before Judge Rachel Bringer Shepherd in Marion County Circuit Court at Palmyra.
    Przybylski has prior convictions for rape and sodomy of children, and was previously sentenced to serve 15 years in prison.

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