EDMOND, Okla. -- The Edmond missionary accused of sex crimes in Kenya wants another chance at freedom.
Matthew Durham is asking for a new trial.
You’ll remember, the 21-year-old was convicted of molesting orphans on a Kenyan mission trip.
In June, a jury found him guilty on 7 counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct.
His attorney, Stephen Jones, claims Durham didn’t get a fair shot in court. Jones accuses the government of a lot of misconduct during the trial.
He argues it’s unfair that prosecutors used his alleged struggle with homosexuality against him because in Oklahoma, Jones says, that’ll sway a jury.
Matthew Durham is waiting to be sentenced. But first, there’s a legal battle in the eleventh hour. His attorney filed a 36-page motion alleging the Edmond missionary did not get a fair trial.
Attorney Stephen Jones claims prosecutors swayed the jury by saying Durham struggled with homosexuality.
“All one has to do is look at the public record, voting, legislators’ statements, governor’s statements, to know that Oklahoma is egregiously unfriendly to homosexuals,” Jones said.
You’ll remember Durham confessed on paper to molesting the Kenyan orphans, and he talked about his temptations on cell phone video.
“Even when I read my Bible in that room that temptation would come, that temptation to touch children and to be with other men, it would come strong, and I’d try to pray to get that away,” Durham said on the video.
Jones argues Durham confessed under pressure because orphanage officials took his passport.
He says Matt isn’t a homosexual, but that shouldn’t matter anyway.
“There is no evidence that homosexuals are more inclined to assault or become pedophiles than there are heterosexuals,” Jones said.
Jones also argues prosecutors unfairly asked witnesses on the stand about Durham’s “alleged struggle with child pornography,” even after his computers and cell phones were searched.
“The government could find no child pornography, there wasn’t any child pornography,” Jones said.
A judge allowed the government to talk about the child porn because of what Durham said in the video.
Court documents show that prosecutors argued, his “admitted struggle with child pornography demonstrates that he is sexually interested in children.”
Now, Durham waits for a second chance in the Logan County Jail.
“He’s a man of faith and he’s stoic, he’s not a complainer or whiner. After the initial shock of being arrested, Matthew has been a cooperative working member of the defense team and still is,” Jones said.
Prosecutors will argue their position soon.
They have a little more than two weeks to file a response.
A judge will then decide whether Durham gets a new trial before he’s sentenced.
Durham turned 21 on Wednesday.