A man found guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a child was in court Wednesday on a motion for a new trial. It was a packed courtroom as people filled the benches in support of the defendant, Justin Riordan.
Riordan was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a child in February. He appeared before Judge Barbra Walther in 51st Judicial District Court for a new trial.
Riordan’s defense attorneys filed a motion for a new trial on April 19, 2016, based on newly-discovered evidence. The defense claims they have new testimony from one of the victim’s friends who came forward after Riordan was found guilty. According to an affidavit, the girl told defense attorney Shawntell McKillop that the victim confessed she had fabricated the allegations against Riordan.
Testimony began at approximately 3:45 p.m. Wednesday. Defense attorney Frank Sellers of Lubbock first called the witness who came forward with the new testimony. She told the court she only learned of the trial because she read about it on an online media outlet. The story used the initials of the victim and the witness put two-and-two together. The witness said she told a mutual friend of hers and of the victim her story of what the victim allegedly told her. She then told the story to her father. Her father later took the stand and told the court that he asked his daughter numerous times if she was certain the story she told was the truth. His daughter never wavered from her account of the story that the victim told her. It was then that the father contacted defenses attorneys Sellers and McKillop.
A school counselor, McKillop and attorney Jessica Skinner each took the stand. Skinner was part of the defense counsel in Riordan’s first trial.
51st District Attorney Allison Palmer objected to the motion for a new trial stating that the new testimony was not evidence.
Judge Walther did not make a judgement Wednesday. She will notify the parties of her ruling in the upcoming weeks.