State District Judge Sharen Wilson grilled prosecutors Wednesday on evidence linking accused stalker Kevin Safford to a racy online profile created in his ex-wife's name.
Outside the jury's presence, Wilson pressed for the "scintilla" of evidence required by law to allow the jury to consider guilt or innocence on the charge of online impersonation.
Defense attorneys Harold Johnson and Liz Cortright had urged the judge to dismiss the charges through a "directed verdict" without jury deliberations, but Wilson eventually ruled to allow the jury to consider both the online impersonation charge and the stalking charge against Safford.
Prosecutors Steven Gebhardt and Andrea Townsend presented evidence that Safford's computer had been used to access the online dating site, Fling.com, but admitted that an analysis of Safford's computer did not contain evidence that he created the phony profile in the name of his ex-wife, Lawana Safford Siney, of Saginaw.
The computer evidence did reveal that Safford had a copy of the photo used to create the website, and that his computer accessed the photo on Oct. 25, 2009.
The next day, on Oct. 26, 2009, men started responding to the Fling.com profile by calling Siney at work and showing up at her home expecting to have sex. They believed they had been chatting with Siney online and that she had made arrangements to see them, according to police. Siney testified she had nothing to do with the profile.
Safford also is accused of making threats to Siney and causing damage to her property. Siney testified that her house and vehicles were spray-painted with the word "slut" and other insults and that she received hundreds of texts and emails that indicated someone was following her. She said the experience was "terrifying."
Safford has maintained his innocence. His attorneys have suggested through questioning that Siney's former boyfriend - whom she began dating after she and Safford were divorced - is the likely culprit. Saginaw police officials said they ruled out the ex-boyfriend, although they admitted that nearly a half-dozen officers had handled the case, including a good friend of Safford's.
Safford is a former DPS trooper and is familiar with law enforcement techniques, according to prosecutors.
The trial is set to resume at 1:30 p.m. with closing arguments. The jury is then set to begin deliberations.