Tuesday, Jun 19, 2018
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Defense rests in Worley case

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    Defendant James Worley handles photos during his trial at the Fulton County Common Pleas Court in Wauseon, Ohio.

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    James Worley, left, and attorney Merle Dech listen to the prosecutor at the Fulton County Common Pleas Court in Wauseon, Ohio.

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WAUSEON — Two longtime friends of James D. Worley testified on Friday that they were familiar with his aging motorcycle and its need for repairs, as the defense began and rested its case for the man accused of kidnapping and killing Sierah Joughin.

Worley, 58, told investigators during recorded initial interviews his motorcycle had broken down on July 19, 2016, when Ms. Joughin, 20, disappeared on a bike ride, and he had lost his helmet, fuses, sunglasses, and a screwdriver. Those items were at the alleged abduction scene where Ms. Joughin's bike was found, witnesses testified last week.

Witness Jeffrey Whitaker said Friday he and Worley would ride together "on plenty of occasions ... Whenever Jim would call and wanted to ride," most recently during the summer of 2016.

PHOTO GALLERY: James Worley trial continues in Wauseon, Ohio

Mr. Whitaker said Worley had trouble with the 1970s motorcycle that would "stall at corners," but he could start it up again without becoming stranded. Despite Worley’s engine-repair shop on the property, he hadn't been able to fix the problems, Mr. Whitaker said.

Fulton County Prosecutor Scott Haselman asked whether Mr. Whitaker was aware of Worley's plans to build a pornography studio in his barn, as Worley’s friend Lawrence Krise testified last week and as Worley himself was heard telling investigators in taped interviews.

Mr. Whitaker said he had watched a few pornography videos with Worley, including at least one involving bondage.

"That's where I think [the idea for the studio] came from," he said of the videos. He also testified to seeing marijuana drying in the barn.

DAY 1: Initial interviews with Worley played on first day of murder trial | DAY 2: BCI agent testifies during 2nd day of Worley murder trial I DAY 3: Testimony focuses on pornography searches I DAY 4: Financials, injuries focus of proceedings | DAY 5: James Worley trial centers on DNA, phone data | DAY 6: James Worley trial enters second week

Mark Fauble said Worley had hired him as a driver for his trucking company over the years and they’d known each other since high school.

He identified the motorcycle helmet admitted into evidence with Ms. Joughin's blood on it as looking like one he purchased for Worley several years ago. The helmet didn’t have blood on it when he bought it, Mr. Fauble said.

The defense also submitted electronic records of all of the websites searched on Worley’s computer, after Toledo Police Detective David Morford testified last week about violent pornographic video searches conducted on the device. The defense had asked for all searches to be included.

Worley, of rural Delta, Ohio, is charged with two counts of aggravated murder — both with death-penalty specifications — as well as four counts of kidnapping, two counts each of murder, abduction, felonious assault, and having weapons while under disability, and one count each of possessing criminal tools, gross abuse of a corpse, and tampering with evidence.

Closing arguments will be Monday morning. Fulton County Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Robinson told jurors he expects they will have the case for deliberation by noon Monday. Jurors will be sequestered during deliberations.

Contact Lauren Lindstrom at llindstrom@theblade.com, 419-724-6154, or on Twitter @lelindstrom.

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