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Change of venue, evidence suppression motions denied in sex abuse case

Gerald Wayne Hubbard is charged with sexually abusing a girl from another state

March 03, 2011|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

A Washington County Circuit Court judge this week denied motions from a Boonsboro man charged with child-sexual abuse to move his case to another county and suppress evidence seized in a search of his property.

Gerald Wayne Hubbard, 67, of 20726 Park Hall Road, is charged with sexually abusing a girl from another state, according to charging documents filed by the Washington County Sheriff's Office.

The girl was allegedly abused by a man she knew as "GW" in 2007 and 2008 at a Taylor's Landing Road property owned by Hubbard, the charging documents said.

The girl was about 5 years old at the time, the documents said. Charges were filed against Hubbard last year after the girl told a therapist of the alleged abuse, the documents said. His trial is scheduled to begin March 10.

In a Feb. 16 hearing before Judge Daniel P. Dwyer, defense attorney John Salvatore argued that too much time had lapsed between the allegations and the application for the search warrant. In his opinion, Dwyer wrote that the time-frame was less than two years, and the child was able to describe toys and other personal items in the camper.

Items linked to the child and Hubbard's co-defendant, Christy M. Woods, 34, of no fixed address, were found in the trailer, Dwyer wrote.

Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr. "found that it was probable that these items of personal property would still be on the Defendant's premises," Dwyer wrote of the "staleness" argument.

Salvatore also argued that the warrant lacked specificity as to what investigators were seeking to find on the property.

"The State argued that recovery of the child's property could lead to DNA evidence, but no further explanation was offered," Dwyer wrote. However, the items police may "reasonably seize" are not confined to those specifically listed in a warrant if there is as connection between the item and possible criminal behavior, he wrote.

"The courts should not invalidate the warrant by interpreting the affidavit in a hyper technical rather than a common sense manner," Dwyer wrote.

Hubbard testified at the February hearing that two articles about his case published in the Herald-Mail last year could prejudice potential jurors. Salvatore argued that in the case of a multiday trial, jurors could be contaminated by local news coverage.

Dwyer wrote that the articles "clearly indicate that the defendant has been charged with these offenses and is alleged to have committed certain offenses, however nothing more."

Jurors can be questioned about having read the articles and their pretrial knowledge during jury selection, Dwyer wrote.

 Hubbard is charged with first- and second-degree rape, first-, second-, third- and fourth-degree sex offense, sexual abuse of a minor, sexual abuse of a minor as a continuing course of conduct and second-degree assault, according to court records.

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