NORMAN, Okla. – In the fourth day of a retrial against a former Tishomingo teacher, the alleged victim was able to share his side of the story.
Shelley Jo Duncan, 50, is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a 14-year-old. She was charged with one count of lewd acts with a child in 2016; however, a mistrial was declared after her first trial this past May.
The alleged victim, now 16, took the stand on Thursday morning.
He recalled hugging and kissing Duncan in the alternative education building where Duncan taught in September 2016. According to his testimony, it was the second time the two had kissed.
The first time, he said, happened in Duncan’s truck when she was driving the boy and her daughter back from a movie. He also told the jury he first thought of Duncan as a good friend who he could get advice from but, as time progressed, he viewed her more as a girlfriend.
According to investigators, the two exchanged more than 7,000 text messages. In one instance, Duncan allegedly told the teenager he was “absolutely flipping gorgeous.”
Investigators also said Duncan would text him that she loved him and that she wished she could trade places with her daughter.
Duncan, represented by Oklahoma City-based attorney Jacqui Ford, argued nowhere in the text messages exchanged between Duncan and the teenager did he ever indicated they were in a relationship.
Ford also stated, of the numerous pictures on his phone, there were none of Duncan and himself together. According to the teenager, he did not want to risk anyone knowing about their relationship.
The state also presented a former coworker of Duncan's, who also worked in the alternative education building. On the night in question, she testified hearing Duncan go into the building.
According to the witness, Duncan was only in there for a few minutes and heard her speak to someone else.
The witness testified she thought Duncan was speaking to her son. She stated Duncan was "spooked" and "disheveled" when she saw her but noted she also "looked nice" with her hair done.
The witness told the jury it was not uncommon for staff members and others to use the alternative education building to get ready for game days.
During cross examination, the defense noted the witness may have seen and heard Duncan but she did not see the alleged victim with her.
The defense presented four witnesses on Thursday, including the alleged victim's former teacher and three people who said they knew the defendant well. Aside from the teacher, the three witnesses described Duncan as someone they could depend on and someone who was affectionate.
However, the state noted they did not have knowledge on the accusations at hand.
The defense said they believe the trial could wrap up by Friday. They plan to present two more witnesses.