Third week of testimony in Chritton trial gets heated - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Third week of testimony in Chritton trial gets heated

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Testimony gets heated Monday afternoon in the trial of the Madison man accused of severely abusing his teenage daughter.

Last week, the jury heard from Chad Chritton's father David Chritton who testified for the prosecution. This week, Chad Chritton's step mother Evelyn Chritton was called up by the defense. The alleged victim in this case, known as SLC, lived with her grandparents for a few months in 2007.

Evelyn Chritton wasn't on the stand for long but caused a stir in the courtroom. Several times the judge ruled to strike her statements from the record when she got emotional and agitated responding to the defense's questions, saying that she never knew of allegations that Chritton's daughter was assaulted by her step brother Joshua Drabek.

In her testimony, Evelyn Chritton read aloud from emails she had sent to the Chritton family about the girl's behavior while living in Minnesota with her grandparents.

"I do think she is doing well," says Evelyn Chritton. "I have not seen much as far as negative behavior. I have had a few instances where she has gone and taken things without permission but when I found it we have dealt with it."

Defense attorney William Hayes asked if Evelyn and David Chritton had thought SLC needed psychiatric care. Evelyn said they did not think so and they were shocked to find out about the alleged abuse.
    
Later, the jury heard from the doctor who diagnosed SLC with starvation and neglect. Chritton, 41, faces seven counts of child abuse related to these diagnoses.

Dr. Barbara Knox is a UW health child abuse pediatrician, specializing in treatment for children suspected of being mistreated. Knox saw SLC last February, after the girl had escaped her family's home. At that time SLC was 15-years-old and weighed less than 70 pounds, and was only 4 feet 9 inches tall. Knox testified that her size was way off the growth curve for someone her age.

Knox testified after a physical exam and interview with the girl, it was clear she had been starved.

"You have to have persistent malnutrition before your height falls off, so the fact that we saw both her weight and her height fall off is a good indication of persistent starvation," says Knox.

Knox also testified about her diagnosis that SLC was neglected based on the life the girl described while in Chritton's home, being kept in the basement with no food or a bathroom.
    
As of Monday afternoon, the prosecution still had yet to rest its case, but the defense has had an opportunity to call up a handful of their witnesses, for scheduling reasons.

Testimony will continue Tuesday, expected to wrap up and go to the jury by the end of the week.

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