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Messages probed, request renewed for mistrial as Webster Daniel trial continues
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Webster Daniel looks across Hall County State Court Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, during his trial on charges of sexual battery involving a student. The former Chestatee High School girls’ basketball coach is accused of engaging in unwanted sexual contact with a juvenile female, according to the Hall County Sheriff’s Office. - photo by Scott Rogers

An investigator testified Wednesday, Oct. 20, on the text and Snapchat messages discovered in the second day of trial evidence for a former Chestatee High basketball coach.

Webster Daniel has been charged with sexual battery and other offenses involving a 16-year-old student. Daniel was the basketball coach at Chestatee High and was employed as an in-school-suspension teacher for the middle school, Chestatee Academy.

Daniel “engaged in unwanted sexual contact with a juvenile female enrolled as a student” at the high school on Nov. 16, 2017, according to the Hall County Sheriff’s Office.

The accusation filed by Hall County Solicitor General Stephanie Woodard alleges that Daniel touched the girl’s breast and pushed his penis against her body. Daniel is accused of simple battery, simple assault, reckless conduct and sexual battery.

Investigator Brett Roach spent most of the day on the stand, as the prosecution and defense attorney Joseph Summer walked him through a trove of messages sent between the girl and Daniel.

Among other conversations in the weeks before the allegations, Daniel had asked her what perfume she used.

The girl testified Tuesday about an exchange with Daniel about what helped headaches, "and that’s whenever he told me that orgasms help headaches.” 

The girl cried as she detailed the allegations from nearly four years ago. The prosecution said Daniel began to massage the girl’s temples before moving his hands down her body.

Wednesday afternoon, Summer renewed a request for a mistrial regarding a portion of an interview with the girl’s mother that was played that mentioned pornography. 

Summer claimed it would “skew the results” of the trial, but State Court Judge Larry Baldwin II said he did not find it “prejudicial to the point that it requires a mistrial.”

The judge did, however, read a statement to the jury when they returned to the courtroom:

“Inadvertantly, a portion of (the state’s exhibit) was presented to you, which may have mentioned something about pornography on a laptop. This portion of the interview is hearsay, which has not been verified and should not be considered by you in any way during your deliberations in this case.”

In his opening statement Tuesday, Summer claimed that Daniel and the girl’s mother were having an extramarital affair prior to the allegations made by the 16-year-old student. The defense attorney’s stance is that the girl “figured out about this affair” and became angry at Daniel.

The girl’s mother said she disclosed the affair to the girl roughly a week after the allegations against Daniel, Roach testified.

The girl’s mother also said no when asked by the investigator if she had instructed her daughter to get Daniel in trouble.

Summer’s opening statement Tuesday also focused on the added details given by the girl in a second interview months after her initial outcry.

Solicitor Brooke Jackson asked Roach about his training and experience with trauma and its effects.

“When you are initialized in the trauma, then you basically want to get all of the information out of just the facts, the basics,” Roach said. 

The trial will continue Thursday, Oct. 21, in Baldwin’s courtroom.

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