One of the 12 jurors who convicted Michael Binns, Sr. of sexual assault of two of his former music students said the jury could not convict the former choir director of rape because there was no evidence that the boys had been penetrated.
Binns, 57, of Monticello, was found guilty Thursday afternoon of two counts of second-degree sexual assault and one count of introducing a controlled substance into the body of another person.
He was charged with two counts of rape and two counts of introducing a controlled substance into the body of another person.
A juror, speaking to Seark Today on the condition of anonymity, said the jury needed more than the boys’ word to convict Binns of rape.
“There was really no evidence to support penetration,” the juror said. “The only evidence of penetration was their word and there were so many holes in their story that several jurors couldn’t (convict Binns of rape) just on their word.”
While there was evidence of Binns’ DNA on the boys’ underwear, there was no evidence of his DNA in their bodies.
The state claimed that Binns drugged both of the boys with Xanax-laced beer then raped them while they were at his home on November 12 celebrating the birthday of the 16-year-old victim.
Both boys testified that Binns gave them beer and one boy admitted that he smoked marijuana that had been provided to him by Binns.
Though both boys tested positive for Xanax, some jurors felt there was not enough evidence to prove that Binns’ provided the boys with the drug. However, the defense did not dispute the state’s claim that Binns gave the 16-year-old marijuana, the juror said.
The juror said they read the jury instructions very carefully and the instructions did not specify the controlled substance nor did it say it had to be involuntary.
Explaining the sentencing deliberations, the juror said the jury was in agreement that Binns should receive the maximum 20-year sentences for the sexual assaults but one juror believed he should be fined on the controlled substance conviction.
The mid-range 5-year sentence and $10,000 fine for introducing a controlled substance, marijuana, into the body of another person, was a compromise, according to the juror.
Circuit Judge Sam Pope accepted the jury’s recommendation that the three sentences run consecutive.
Binns will be eligible for parole after serving one-sixth of his 45 year sentence.