News That Matters To Antelope County - Your News. Your Way. Every Day!
© Pitzer Digital, LLC
The state’s key witness, the alleged victim in the case, gave a tearful testimony against Darryl Lierman as she turned away from him during day five of the trial.
Lierman, 51, is accused of three counts of first-degree sexual assault of a child, two counts of third-degree sexual assault of a child, and three counts of child abuse. He has pleaded not guilty to all eight charges.
Lierman’s court-appointed attorneys are Doug Stratton and Jason Doele, and the state is represented by Antelope County Attorney Joe Abler, Assistant Antelope County Attorney Joe Smith and Assistant Nebraska Attorney General Sandra Allen.
The alleged victim cast her eyes away from Lierman and turned herself toward Smith as he questioned her. Her voice quieted as she described the alleged sexual abuse, and she was frequently asked to speak louder.
She was asked if she was aware that Lierman had been accused of sexual abuse in a previous trial, and she said rumors were going around school so she heard people talking and eventually found out. The alleged victim said no one has ever told her the details of what was alleged in the previous case. She saw what the previous accuser went through and she didn’t want that, she said. “Nobody believed her. Everyone hated her. She had to go to a foster home where she was all alone,” the alleged victim said.
She said the first time she remembers a sexual act with Lierman was when he was out on bond and they were in Meadow Grove. The alleged victim said he asked her to take her clothes off and “took my hand and put it under the blanket and had me go back and forth on his lower region.” She tried to pull away and later asked if she could go play outside, she said. The alleged victim said Lierman asked her to come closer and he began sucking on her ear and her “private area.” She said he eventually fell asleep and she went to take a shower. “No matter how hard I scrubbed, I couldn’t get clean,” she sobbed. “I couldn’t get clean.”
The alleged victim said Lierman liked to get her alone after that. And after Lierman was found not guilty in 2011, she said they moved back to Neligh, and “it started happening more often.”
She said another time that stands out in her memory is a time he called for her and she tried to jerk away from him. The alleged victim said he placed one handcuff on her wrist and the other on the bedframe and said, “Let’s see you try to leave now” as Lierman touched her and performed oral sex on her.
“I didn’t like it. It made me feel funny, so I would kick him,” she said. “He turned me over and spanked me, uncuffed me and told me to get ready for school.”
She said it wasn’t the only time the handcuffs were used. The alleged victim said Lierman used them “whenever I told him no.” When she took them to school to hide them, she said he was mad, made her bring them home and spanked her with a back scratcher.
The alleged victim described other times when Lierman had sex or oral sex with her, sometimes in exchange for rewards. “Whenever I wanted something, I always had to do something to get it,” she said. The alleged victim described a time she was forced to perform oral sex on Lierman in order to go to the state fair with her friend. “I could’ve just said I didn’t want to go,” she said crying. The alleged victim also talked about Lierman taking her bra shopping and later forcing her to model them in their hallway.
Smith asked her about the ice packs that were seized from the home. The alleged victim said when she gets sick, she runs a high fever. She said Lierman would have her take her clothes off and put ice packs under her armpits and between her legs.
The alleged victim started talking about a suicide attempt by taking some pills but was cut short by a court recess. Judge Mark Johnson decided it would be an appropriate time to break for the day, so court was adjourned. The alleged victim will continue her testimony Saturday.
Friday morning started with Terry Kenny, a retired investigator with the Nebraska State Patrol, taking the stand.
Abler questioned Kenny about search warrants executed at the Lierman home and items taken into evidence.
Inv. Kenny said the first search was conducted on Feb. 23, 2015 at their Neligh home located at 508 W. 10th St. One of the children answered the door, but then slammed it in the officers’ faces, he said. After repeatedly knocking on the door, Kenny said he eventually gained entry by kicking in a side door of the house. Lierman was lying on his bed and two children were in the home. Five ice packs were seized and numerous photos were taken inside the house, according to the investigator. The ice packs and photos were entered as evidence. While using a projector to show photos to the jury, Kenny said what appeared to be a storage room was later identified as the alleged victim’s room. The basement room had a cement floor and showed a bed that had been disassembled, with the frame leaning up against the wall. The investigator said the photo was taken about two weeks after the alleged victim was removed from the home.
After Lierman and his wife, Julie, were arrested on July 14, Kenny said he seized a bottle of Viagra and some sex toys from the Liermans bedroom. Months later, he also seized bras from the alleged victim, two pairs of handcuffs, two leather belts, two computers and some other electronic devices.
In the cross examination, Doele showed Kenny several photos of the home and asked him each time if there was anything illegal about the photo, to which he replied, “No.” He also asked the investigator if the sex toys were seized from Julie’s side of the bed, and he answered, “Yes.” Doele questioned whether any of the family members, friends or teachers who were interviewed during the course of his investigation had concerns about sexual abuse toward the alleged victim, and Kenny replied, “No.”
In his redirect, Abler asked the investigator if he considered Darryl and Julie Lierman’s bedroom a crime scene, to which he replied, “Yes.” Abler also asked if Kenny, in his his experience as an investigator, was surprised that none of the family, friends and teachers were aware of sexual abuse, and he answered, “No.”
Jason Linder, forensic manager of the Nebraska State Patrol Crime Lab, was the second witness of the day. Allen asked him to explain the process of DNA testing and how it is used to generate a profile. Linder said reference samples were taken from Darryl and Julie Lierman as well as his first accuser. He explained that evidence can be collected from a variety of sources for DNA testing, including blood, hair and skins cells, as well as bodily substances such as saliva and semen. Linder explained how the extraction of skin cells from sperm cells is done in sexual abuse cases, and he used this method on bedding that was taken from the Lierman bedroom and Lierman’s semi truck. He also tested the purple sex toy, black massager and attachments. The conclusive profiles came back with the presence of only DNA by Darryl and his accuser, not Julie.
In his cross examination, Stratton asked if any samples were received from Lierman’s current accuser, to which Linder replied, “No.” The defense attorney also questioned if the crime lab could determine when cells was deposited on an item, and he answered, “No.”
In her redirect, Allen asked, although you can’t tell when DNA deposits are made, “Is it possible that mixture could have could have been deposited at the same time?” and Linder replied, “Yes.” She also asked about the testing that was done near the corner of a bedsheet, and he said the presence of semen was confirmed.
The third witness, Dwight Mock, former owner of a home in Meadow Grove, took the stand for a short time. He said Lierman moved into the home with him while he was out on bond in March 2011 and moved out later that summer. Smith asked if Mock witnessed minor female children in the home and if one of them was the alleged victim in this case, to which he replied, “Yes,” to both. “Normally, (Julie) was around, but sometimes she would go to work and come back,” he said.
When asked about a cross examination, Stratton said, “I’ve got nothing, judge.”
The trial will reconvene Saturday at 9 a.m.