Jury convicts on 1 count in Nevada County sexual abuse case | TheUnion.com

Jury convicts on 1 count in Nevada County sexual abuse case

Jurors in the sexual abuse trial of Michael Sean O’Dell took almost a week to convict him, authorities said.

The jury in the Nevada County Superior Court trial of O’Dell, 46, returned Wednesday afternoon with a guilty verdict on one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child. It split 9 to 3 in favor of conviction on a second count of continuous sexual abuse, but could reach no verdict on that charge, Assistant District Attorney Chris Walsh said.

O’Dell faces up to 16 years in prison, he added.

“We are appreciative of the jurors who took considerable time and effort in order to reach this verdict,” Walsh said in an email. “Hopefully today’s decision will go a long way towards achieving justice for these young victims.”

The trial began July 7. Attorneys delivered their closing statements July 23, and jurors began their deliberations that day, continuing Friday, Monday, Tuesday and most of Wednesday, the prosecutor said.

Prosecutors had accused O’Dell of abusing two girls multiple times over a two-year period. Deputy District Attorney Helenaz Hill in her closing arguments called the girls, 6 and 8 at the time, “the perfect victims.” She said O’Dell acted as a father figure, gained their trust and took advantage of it.

Defense attorney Patrick Clancy, who represents O’Dell, said the girls were “emotionally damaged,” and created a “toxic mix” when together at O’Dell’s home. He added that their allegations weren’t believable, saying they destroyed each other’s credibility.

To contact City Editor Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

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