A 49-year-old man accused of having sex with a 15-year-old girl was found guilty of enticing a child for indecent purposes by a Hall County jury.
The jury reached its verdict Friday in the case against Weyman Edward Wheeler after being seated Monday.
The jury found Wheeler not guilty of aggravated child molestation, and the jury was hung on the charges of child molestation and statutory rape, Hall County District Attorney Lee Darragh said Friday.
Judge Kathleen Gosselin presided over the case. Wheeler has not been sentenced, Darragh said.
Wheeler was arrested last year after investigators said he had sex with a 15-year-old girl in a consensual relationship. He was 48 at the time of his arrest.
During closing arguments Thursday, Hall County Assistance District Attorney Juliet Aldridge said that phone records showed Wheeler and the girl had contacted each other more than 3,000 times during their relationship.
Wheeler was represented by attorney Dan Summer, who argued that Wheeler’s son could have been the one using the cellphone to contact her. Summer said the girl admitted to receiving messages from the phone that were sent by Wheeler’s son.
Aldridge said that Wheeler would send text messages to the girl to get her to sneak out after her mother left for work. She also said Wheeler and the girl had sexual relations, including one time on Wheeler’s birthday.
Summer told jurors that Wheeler was “a man who was taken advantage of.” He said Wheeler’s accuser “is a very troubled girl,” who is “good at the art of deception.”
According to Summer, the girl was using Wheeler’s son as an excuse to be close to Wheeler. He said the whole relationship between Wheeler and the girl was just a fantasy she had, adding “she thinks this is a joke; it’s funny to her.”
Summer used a tweet the girl had posted to Twitter to enforce the idea of a fantasy. In the tweet, the girl wrote about wanting someone she can’t have.
Summer said ultimately Wheeler was just “being a friendly, gregarious” man.
“Being too friendly is not child molestation,” Summer said.