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Jurors in the Darryl Lierman trial heard from the defendant himself as he testified on his own behalf late Monday afternoon in Antelope County District Court.
Darryl Lierman, along with his wife Julie and several of their family members, took the stand to deny the charges against him. 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 day started with testimony from Julie Lierman, who said she has been married to the defendant for 27 years. While being questioned by Doele, Mrs. Lierman said the alleged victim was never left alone with the defendant while he lived in Meadow Grove. She said she knows this because it was one of Lierman’s bond conditions that he not be left alone with a minor, so she or her oldest son, James, was with Lierman “pretty much at all times.” When asked if her husband was ever alone with the alleged victim while they were in the Meadow Grove house, she said, “Absolutely not.”
Mrs. Lierman confirmed that her husband owned handcuffs, she said “he liked locks and keys and that stuff.” She said the handcuffs were kept in their bedroom dresser, and the kids had access to them and played with them.
She denied that Lierman ever had girls model bras for him, but confirmed that he did take the alleged victim bra shopping.
Mrs. Lierman said she and the alleged victim often got into arguments, but one particular threat was seen as a threat against the family. Mrs. Lierman said the alleged victim said, “I know what I have to do to get out of here. I’ll just do what (Lierman’s first accuser) did.”
In his cross examination, Smith asked numerous questions revolving around a menstrual cycle calendar kept by Lierman’s first accuser. He asked Mrs. Lierman if she and the first accuser went over the calendar after his first arrest, and Mrs. Lierman said she did not remember. “If I play a recording, will it jog your memory?” Smith asked. After playing the recorded jail conversation, Mrs. Lierman said, “I guess, yes.”
After he was found not guilty in 2011, Smith asked Mrs. Lierman if she and her husband ever tried having sex again, and she said, “No, he couldn’t get an erection.” Smith asked her if she remembered a conversation when her husband was mad that she had called him impotent when he was not, and she replied, “I do not.” Smith played the recorded jail conversation, and Mrs. Lierman said she still did not remember it, “but I know that’s me, and I know that’s Darryl.”
Mrs. Lierman said she was working full-time, but her oldest son, James, “was always there when I wasn’t there” during the children’s visits to Lierman while he was on bond and living in Meadow Grove. When Allen continued the cross examination, she asked Mrs. Lierman about James and “developmental delays.” She said James “has Aspergers, which is a high-functioning form of Autism.” “And, this is the person you kept in charge, making sure Darryl and (the alleged victim) weren’t together?” Allen asked. Mrs. Lierman replied, “Yes.”
Allen asked Mrs. Lierman if she remembered reminding (the first accuser) and (the alleged victim in this case) “that you were Darryl’s wife,” not them, and she said, “Yes.”
Mrs. Lierman said they were overly cautious even after Lierman was found not guilty, still not allowing him to be alone with the minor children in the home. “But, eventually, (the alleged victim) would have contact alone?” Allen asked. Mrs. Lierman said, “Yes.” When asked if it was common for Lierman and (the alleged victim to be in the bedroom with the door closed, Mrs. Lierman said, “Sometimes.” “Did you tell Investigator Kenny that you’ve walked in when Darryl and (the alleged victim) were on the bed together?” and she replied, “Yes.”
In his redirect, Doele asked Mrs. Lierman if she had any idea what Lierman’s definition of impotence is, and she answered, “No.”
She was asked if she trusted James to watch the children, and to follow instructions and she replied, “Yes.”
When Mrs. Lierman told the girls “they were not Darryl’s wife,” Doele asked her why. “They were being disrespectful,” Mrs. Lierman said.
Laurie Marshall, Darryl Lierman’s sister-in-law from Delafield, Wisc., took the stand next. Marshall was asked about when (the alleged victim) was planning to move in with her and her husband, but she had a change of heart. Mrs. Marshall said her children were older, she no longer knew parents of children that age, and was not familiar with the school where she currently lived. Also, “I was very nervous about having a teenager in the house again,” she said. Smith chose not to cross examine the witness.
Talila “Tia” Lierman, Darryl and Julie’s oldest daughter, testified on her father’s behalf. She said her mother and (the alleged victim) frequently got into fights. Her father also fought with (the alleged victim), but less often. Tia Lierman said one time (the alleged victim) was upset with Lierman, and said, “Child abuse, child abuse! I can do what (first accuser) did!”
Tia Lierman testified that James, her mother or Dwight Mock, the home owner, were always around when they visited Darryl at the Meadow Grove home. She said other adults were still around even after the not guilty verdict, and they had moved back to Neligh. Tia was asked if she was allowed to go into her parent’s bedroom and she replied, “all the time, it was pretty much the living place.”
In his cross examination, Smith questioned Tia Lierman about about a poem she wrote. He asked her, “Did you indicate why did (the first accuser) have to endure this?” Tia denied it, saying, “No, it was a poem about me and (the alleged victim) being upset about what was going on.”
James Lierman, Darryl and Julie’s oldest son, took the stand next. Doele asked him about the bond conditions or rules while they were living in Meadow Grove. “Dad could not be unsupervised with the little ones,” James Lierman said. Doele asked him what his role was. “I was basically his babysitter,” James Lierman said. “I went with him to Dwight’s shop or wherever he went.” When asked if he took this job seriously, James Lierman said, “Yes, very.” “It was part of the bond, and I didn’t want to see Dad go back to jail,” he said.
In his cross examination, Smith asked James Lierman if he slept somewhere other than the room with his father, and he said, “Yes.” Smith asked him if he sometimes watched TV, and he replied, “Yes.” Smith asked James Lierman if he sometimes took naps, and he answered, “Probably.”
After a minor witness took the stand, the defense called the defendant, Darryl Lierman.
Lierman denied sexually abusing either (the first accuser) or (the alleged victim) in any way. Stratton also asked him about his weight. Lierman said the last time he weighed less than 400 pounds was probably 2004, but it’s difficult to know for sure since there are not scales big enough in Neligh. A video was shown of Lierman undressing in the Madison County Jail and then sitting naked in a chair. Naked photos were also shown of him in various positions. Stratton told him to look at the photos, and asked Lierman, “You can’t see your penis can you?” He replied, “No.” When Stratton asked why, Lierman said, “It’s up inside.” Stratton asked him if face-to-face sex would even be possible for him, Lierman replied, “No, it should be obvious why, but here we are.” Lierman said the last time he was able to use an erection for sex was 2007. He said samples of Levitra, Viagra and Cialis were all given to him by his doctor, but “they don’t work.” Lierman said the medication found on his nightstand was Celebrex and Viagra, but the Viagra was not his. “The Viagra was from my brother’s place in Oakdale when he died,” Lierman said. He said the pills were not cut in half while they were in his possession.
Lierman denied ever being alone with (the alleged victim) while living in Meadow Grove, and said he kept the adult supervision rules in place for almost a year after he moved home. “After going through what I went through, I didn’t feel comfortable,” he said.
Lierman also testified about (the alleged victim’s) unhappiness, and her threats to do what (the first accuser) did. Then six videos of happier times were introduced and published, showing the Lierman children dancing and wrestling on the bed.
When asked about the handcuffs, Lierman said he kept them in a dresser drawer and they were never used in sexual abuse of any kind. “My wife never let me use them,” he said. Lierman said he never noticed any marks on the spindles of his headboard either.
Lierman admitted that he took (the alleged victim) shopping for bras at Walmart, but a sales lady is the one who helped her.
Lierman admitted that he knew Xacjare Rath from the Madison County Jail, but denied telling him about a time he sexually assaulted (the first accuser).
Lierman was asked about a standoff at his home with police officers prior to his first arrest. He said he didn’t remember sleeping since Julie told him he needed to get home, and he had taken 5-Hour Energy Drinks. When he arrived at home around 3:45 a.m. on Sunday, Lierman said his wife wouldn’t tell him anything, and then he heard her sister calling the police. “When I heard Phil Hart outside, I grabbed my gun,” he said. “I didn’t want to go to jail.” Lierman said after he was eventually brought in to the sheriff’s office, he looked up and saw a light in the holding room. He took a piece of glass and cut his throat, he said. Stratton asked him if he attempted suicide because he did something to (the first accuser), and Lierman answered, “No, I didn’t even know about it.”
During the cross examination, Smith asked if he was willing to shoot himself after he heard Officer Hart, simply to avoid jailtime. “I wasn’t going to shoot myself with it. The gun was to slow things down,” Lierman said. “I knew they would slow down if I had a gun. I knew I didn’t do anything wrong.” He said Officer Lee Cameron was the one who later told him what charges he was being accused of. Lierman said he tried killing himself three days later at the sheriff’s office because the sheriff told him he was going to D & E (Nebraska Diagnostic and Evaluation Center).
Smith asked him about several fellow prisoners and what Lierman told them about his case, his suicide attempt, or ability to have sex, and Lierman denied telling prisoners anything.
When (the first accuser) thought she may be pregnant, Smith asked Lierman if he was worried she may be pregnant with his child, and he said, “No.” “When I heard (the first accuser) thought she may be pregnant, the only thing I could figure is that she got into a bottle I put semen in,” Lierman said. He went on to explain to Smith that sometimes he would masturbate and put the semen in a can on his nightstand or a bottle in his truck. “You just told us today that you can’t reach your penis,” Smith said when inquiring how masturbation is possible. Lierman said he lies on his side and puts a bottle under his stomach.
Smith also asked about the Viagra pills on Lierman’s nightstand. Lierman indicated that he never cut any of them in half. “The last time I saw those pills, they were all whole,” he said. “Are you suggesting that the officers cut the pill in half?” Smith asked. Lierman answered, “I don’t know.”
The trial adjourned for the day at about 6:10 p.m. and will reconvene Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.