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Markham’s trial details discussed in motion hearing

David Markham, 53, Cornell, appeared in court for a motion hearing, Feb. 5, prior to his trial slated for March.

Markham faces one count of Child Abuse – Intentionally Cause Harm and one count of Disorderly Conduct. Markham is accused of punching a boy in 2018, after the boy texted his mother he was hungry.

They started by discussing a motion to admit AVR evidence. State representative Scott Zehr said he received an email saying a case, State of Wisconsin vs. Angel Mercado, was filed that deals specifically with the statute in question.

“I did not have a chance to review it, because it was filed yesterday,” said Zehr, as he provided a copy for the defense and judge to read.

Judge Steven Cray reviewed the majority opinion. Cray said his understanding of the Mercado case, was the court expressed a great deal of concern that the judge in the case only viewed portions, but not the entire, video recording. Cray said he will take State vs. Mercado into account when he makes his decision.

“I am going to tell both parties, I have viewed this video recording at least twice in its entirety and it’s memorable, simply because of the personality of the young gentleman,” said Cray.

Another motion hearing was scheduled to discuss the motion further, since the Mercado case is new.

An other acts motion was also discussed. Zehr, Cray and defense attorney David Field discussed their interpretation of the applicable statute, on greater latitude for mentioning other crimes and how it applies to the case.

Zehr compared Markham’s current case with previous accusations Markham faced. “In this case, the defendant punched his 15-year-old son in the face and the state must prove that he did so intentionally,” said Zehr, adding the defendant could say the contact was accidental.

Zehr noted a 2004 case, where Markham faced similar charges for striking his 16-year-old son on his face, legs, arms and ribs. Zehr also pointed out similar circumstances in the cases.

“This other acts evidence establishes that the defendant has the intent to cause harm to his son and that it was not an accident,” said Zehr.

Field pointed out Markham was only found guilty of Disorderly Conduct in the 2004 case.

“The allegation of physical abuse was considered unsubstantiated in that case,” said Field. Field also pointed out that the 2004 incident, took place 14 years, before the current charges against Markham.

“I think it tests the bounds of relevance here,” said Field.

Cray ruled neither party can make mention of the prior action, unless it comes in in the state’s rebuttal.

Zehr also noted he may have scheduling conflicts the week Markham is scheduled for trial.