Trial Date: 2/1/2022
Person charged: Amanda Elaine Collins
Initial Charges: Statutory rape – 4 counts
Statutory sex offense – 2 counts
Incest – 4 counts
Felony child abuse by sexual act – 5 counts
Indecent liberties with a child – 7 counts
Outcome: Statutory rape – not guilty 4 counts
Statutory sex offense – not guilty 2 counts
Incest – not guilty 4 counts
Felony child abuse by sexual act – not guilty 5 counts
Indecent liberties with a minor – not guilty 6 count
Indecent liberties with a minor – one count dismissed at the close of State’s evidence
Just to update – the trial completed after seven total days of testimony and deliberation. The Date of Initial Charges was December 16, 2015 and brought by the District Attorney: 2015-2018 Kent Brown, ADA McDowell County, NC, continued by prosecutor 2018-2022 Michael McEnery, ADA (trial attorney) McDowell County, NC.
The jury deliberated approximately 2 hours before rendering the not guilty verdicts on 2/9/2022.
Facts of discussed case: The trial began on February 1, 2022, with jury selection. The jury selection was completed over the course of one day, and the actual trial phase began for the State on February 2, 2022.
- The first witness called to the stand was Jonathan Kaleb Collins, whose testimony lasted approximately 5 hours.
- The second person called to the stand was Elizabeth Browning, NP as an expert witness. Ms. Browning is employed by Lily’s Place in Marion, North Carolina.
- The third person called to the stand was Dr. Sheila Williamson, a psychologist employed at Broughton Hospital and employed part-time at Repay, Inc. Dr. Williamson testified as an expert witness in the field of PTSD.
- The fourth person called to the stand was John Middleton, a retired psychologist who had previous employment at Repay, Inc.
- The fifth person called to the stand was Kelli Schopmeyer, who testified as to a conversation held with the Defendant in the spring of 2012.
- The sixth person called to the stand was Kristen Clontz, who testified to alleged actions inside the home of the Defendant in 2008.
- The seventh person called to the stand was Lois Anne Hutchins, a former jail inmate who testified to an alleged admission on the part of the Defendant that took place during the 86 days the Defendant was incarcerated prior to obtaining bond.
- The eighth person called to the stand was Captain Jason Grindstaff with the McDowell County Sheriff Department to testify as to the 5 ½ hour interrogation that was conducted with the Defendant on December 15, 2015.
After the testimony of Captain Grindstaff, the State rested their case on Friday, February 4, 2022.
On Sunday, February 6, 2022, Mr. Evans was visited by Sheriff Ricky Buchanan and Captain Jason Grindstaff at his home to be notified of the accidental overdose and subsequent death of Kaleb Collins; and the need to notify Ms. Collins of the death of her son. These arrangements were made.
On Monday, February 7, 2022, Mr. Evans entered a motion for mistrial due to the recent death and the possibility of jury contamination. As no contamination was noted, the trial continued after a one-day recess to allow the Defendant and her immediate family time to mourn the death of her son and to move forward with trial.
On Tuesday, February 8, 2022, the defense began their case. The first witness called was Defendant Amanda Collins, who remained on the stand for approximately 4 hours. The second witness called for the defense was Nancy Brown, the Defendant’s sister, who testified for approximately an hour. The third witness called by the defense was Michelle Burton, a business partner of the Defendant who remained on the stand for approximately 45 minutes to one hour.
On Wednesday, February 9, 2022, closing arguments were conducted by both the State and the defense, which lasted until the lunch recess. Upon resumption of court, N.C. Pattern Jury Instructions were given to the jury and deliberations began at approximately 3:00pm. The verdict of not guilty on the above 21 felony counts was rendered in open court at 4:50 pm.
Mr. Evans stated:
“I want to extend my and my staff’s appreciation for the extraordinary efforts of the jury during this long trial.
My client, Amanda Collins, has asserted her innocence for the past six years. During these six long years my client has been prevented from having contact with her three children, only to lose her oldest to drug overdose during the trial.
This is not on her, it is on the current District Attorney who delayed trial in this matter for those long years. My client will never get those years back, but now she has been vindicated and maybe the healing can start.”