Owens' other daughter claims she abused Haley Spicer

Owens' other daughter claims she abused Haley Spicer

June 29, 2005

6 News Reporter

JACKSBORO (WATE) -- A shocking confession came Wednesday during the trial of Tommy Owens, who is accused of abusing his daughter, Haley Spicer.

Owens is charged with three counts of aggravated child abuse and one count of aggravated child neglect. He is the only defendant left in the case.

Owen's other daughter and Haley's half sister, who was nine-years-old at the time her father was arrested, told the jury her father didn't abuse Haley, but that she did.

Owen's older daughter said Charlotte Claiborne and her 12-year-old daughter abused the little girl.

The ten-year-old girl testified that she didn't tell anyone she helped cause Haley's injuries because she was afraid she would get in trouble and that her father would hate her for what she had done.

The first witness of the day for the defense was Owen's himself. His testimony shed some light on the six months Haley was in his care.

Owens told the jury about his relationship with girlfriend, Charlotte Claiborne, and how it "went sour" after he took custody of Haley in December 2003.

Owens said he and Claiborne started using meth in spring 2004 and by May, it became a daily habit.

Owens told the jury he continued to work and mostly left Claiborne to take care of the children. He said in his family, "That's the way it was done."

He also said he saw Haley less and less as he put in more hours as a coal miner.

Owens also testified that Claiborne was taking care of Haley's injuries. He broke down and cried as he looked at the pictures first shown Tuesday by the state, showing the girl's bruises, burns, missing hair and eyes matted shut.

But when asked if he abused Haley, Owens denied it, saying it must have been Claiborne who did it.

The defense also called Owens' parents to the stand. Donnie and Annette Owens shared their concerns about the parenting skills of Charlotte Claiborne.

The defense did not rest Wednesday afternoon when court adjourned. They are expected to call more witnesses Thursday.

Claiborne pleaded guilty before going to trial and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

The other co-defendant, Haley's reported babysitter Teresa Draughn, made a plea deal Monday instead of going to trial. She pleaded no contest to failing to report the abuse to authorities.

The judge found her guilty and will sentence her on October 11.


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