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Juror in Kelsey Smith-Briggs abuse case denies misconduct accusations

A juror, Brandi Oldham, 29, of Tulsa, OK, told a judge she did not watch TV news and did not do improper Internet research about the case of Kelsey Smith-Briggs during the eight-day trial in Bristow.
BY NOLAN CLAY Modified: September 2, 2010 at 5:51 am •  Published: September 2, 2010
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"They were very work-specific conversations," she said.

Oldham then lived with her parents. Supporting her testimony were her father and other jurors.

Her father, a computer technician, testified Wednesday she did not watch the news during the trial and only got on the computer at home to check e-mails.

He said he monitored the family's Internet usage because he worried about Internet viruses damaging the computer.

He said he asked her one day how it was going, and she replied, "Dad, you know I can't talk about it."

Six jurors testified Wednesday that Oldham never brought up any information from TV news or the Internet during the trial.

Contradicting the accuser's testimony was evidence that Kelsey's Purpose, the main website devoted to Kelsey's case, had been basically shut down during the trial. Kelsey's grandmother, Kathie Briggs, said the family closed down the website at the request of prosecutors until after the verdict.

No one was convicted

of murder in case

Kelsey died on Oct. 11, 2005, at her home near Meeker. The death was ruled a homicide, but no one was convicted of murder in her case.

Kelsey's stepfather, Michael Lee Porter, was charged with first-degree murder and child sexual abuse but pleaded guilty to enabling child abuse. He is serving a 30-year prison sentence. He blamed Smith for her death.

The mother was never charged with murder. Jurors on July 18, 2007, found her guilty of enabling child abuse and compromised on her punishment. Some wanted more time and some wanted less, one juror said afterward.

Smith blamed Porter for Kelsey's death.

The tragedy exposed serious flaws in how the state protects children because, at the time of Kelsey's death, both the state Department of Human Services and a judge were overseeing her care because of abuse allegations.

During 2005, Kelsey suffered repeated injuries, including two broken legs and a broken collarbone, and was taken from her mother for a time. Her death came four months after the state judge returned Kelsey to her mother, despite accusations the mother was the abuser.

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