Updated Tue, Aug 6, 2013 9:48 am
Following a brief delay, the abduction case against the man accused of taking a 6-year-old Jackson girl, will be transferred to the Common Pleas Court’s Grand Jury.
Zachary Dunn’s preliminary hearing began a bit late on Monday, August 5. Following a brief recess to find a witness that had not shown up, the hearing continued a short time later. The reason for the delay was the failure to appear of the 16-year-old primary witness.
Dunn is being held on an abduction charge in the case of Macey Stewart, who was taken from her Chestnut Street home on July 26. Numerous law enforcement agencies and fire departments, along with specialized water rescue teams, major crimes units, and the Red Cross, searched for almost 16 hours before the child walked into the back yard of an Oakland Road home approximately seven miles away, in Liberty Township. She was injured and unclothed.
Due to laws that state that a person arrested for a crime of this nature has the right to a preliminary hearing within 10 days of their arrest, time was ticking away to get the hearing finalized before the deadline.
The prosecution requested a continuance of the hearing, because the teen witness was a no show, but Dunn’s attorney Herman Carson, said since it was the tenth and final day under the rules, he would argue and assert the hearing be completed that day.
Jackson County Municipal Court Judge Mark Musick contemplated his decision. “We will carry this over to tomorrow, August 6, at 2 p.m. I will also order that the minor in question be located and taken into custody if necessary until which time he can testify in court,” Musick said. Dunn was remanded back to the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office under the same provisions as were ordered previously.
As the proceedings recessed, a friend of Franklin Stewart Sr. said he knew where the 16-year-old was and told the teen’s location to law enforcement personnel.
Franklin Stewart told the media, during the recess in proceedings, that the 16-year-old had babysat for him before. As to why teen was late to the witness stand, Stewart said that he thought the teen was just scared that someone might try to blame him for what happened to Macey.
Stewart said he felt the case was getting somewhere, but he hopes the DNA evidence comes back soon. When asked by the media what he thought should happen to Dunn, he said, “I hope he gets the maximum they can give him.”
Shortly thereafter it was announced that the 16-year-old was in the court and that the hearing would continue.
On the witness stand the young man said that Dunn had been at the house earlier that evening to buy a CD player from Franklin, and that he left, but returned shortly after Franklin had left the residence. He said that no one else was around and that he, Macey and Dunn, entered the house together at one point for a few minutes. He said Dunn went back out to the porch, as did he and Macey. The teen said he told Macey to get inside, but she didn’t listen to him and stayed outside. After he ran inside the house to get a drink, he returned to the porch just seconds later, he observed Dunn’s car driving down Chestnut Street and Macey was gone.
The teen said he checked inside the house to see if Macey might have slipped back inside, and walked around the house hollering for her, but did nothing else until Franklin got home. Franklin Stewart reported her missing and the search began.
Municipal Court Judge Mark Musick instructed the media not to use the 16-year-old witness’ name because he was a juvenile.
A Jackson Police Officer gave testimony to explain how his K-9 was not used during the overnight hours because the police were told she was abducted by car. He did confirm however, that the K-9 was used at the site where Macey wandered in.
In other testimony, Jackson Police Sgt. Scott Conley described Macey’s eyes as being swollen and her forehead bleeding when she was found. “It appeared to me that she had been beaten with several punches,” Conley said in his testimony. Conley told the court that a coat, similar to what Dunn was seen wearing in surveillance video from a convenience store, was found in the cemetery, near the home on Oakland Road, where a battered Macey was discovered.
The last person to take the stand was Franklin Stewart. He was asked if he had given Dunn permission to take Macey anywhere, and he stated, “no!”
After the witnesses testified, the Defense requested the case be dismissed, because the requirement for the charge his client is facing says force or threat has to be present, and that was not proven.
Judge Musick ruled that there was probable cause to bound Dunn over to Common Pleas Court. His case will appear before the Grand Jury, who will then decide whether there is enough evidence to proceed to trial.
It has not been released when the case will be presented to the Grand Jury, or if Dunn is facing additional charges. Dunn remains incarcerated in the Jackson County Correctional Facility.