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Update | Defense rests in Enumclaw's Sound Doctrine pastor Malcolm Fraser trial | Closing arguments May 28
Editor's note: The trial of Malcolm Fraser has lasted nearly two months with at times very emotional testimony from each side.
The judge has been careful to instruct all parties in the courtroom that the only individuals who are to consider the credibility of any witness are the members of the jury.
Fraser is presumed innocent of all charges and only the members of the jury are able to decide his innocence or guilt.
Fraser is a pastor with the Enumclaw based Sound Doctrine Church. Neither the church nor the other church members are on trial.
The charges, testimony and trial proceedings are very serious and this publication will continue to report about this trial until the case is decided by the jury.
King County Superior Court Judge Lori K. Smith ruled the closing statements were to be given Tuesday, May 28.
The jury will hear about 30 minutes of instruction from the judge followed by closing statements from Deputy Prosecutor Jason Simmons and defense Attorney Ann Carey.
It was likely the case went to the jury for deliberation Tuesday afternoon.
The defense in State vs. Malcolm Fraser rested May 22 in King County Superior Court at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.
The 40-year-old Sound Doctrine Church assistant pastor was charged with two counts of first-degree child rape and two counts of first-degree molestation involving an 11-year-old girl living in Enumclaw. The incidents were alleged to have occurred from 2005 to 2006 and the girl is now 18.
Fraser did not take the stand to testify.
Fraser entered a not guilty plea to the charges in April 2012 and the trial began almost two months ago, April 3.
The defense presented the heart of its case May 20-22. It was the first week of defense without any prosecution witnesses taking the stand.
Carey presented numerous witnesses testifying that Fraser and his wife did not live at the family home of the young woman who has made the allegations for the length of time the young woman and other state witnesses testified.
The timeline is an essential block in the defense case and was hammered home by witnesses Carey called to the stand.
Most of the witnesses testified Fraser and his wife lived in the home with the family six or seven weeks, from the end of March to May of 2006.
The young woman who brought the allegations forward had testified she thought Fraser moved into the family’s home in late September of 2005.
Other state witness testified the Frasers lived in the home in late 2005 or early 2006.
Fraser’s wife, Julie Fraser, took the stand May 20 and testified through an American sign language interpreter. Julie Fraser is deaf.
She testified the couple lived at 309 Carley Place and moved to the family’s home shortly before the young woman’s family moved out in mid-May.
The couple has been married for 11 years and both are members of the church.
Other witnesses from the church, including Brooke Ada, Kerry Williams and Abigail Davidson testified to a similar timeline.
Another issued countered by defense testimony was the church being characterized as a cult.
Williams said on the stand, “No we are not a cult.”
She is married to Joshua Williams, a pastor for Sound Doctrine. Kerry Williams said she first met Malcolm Fraser when she was 15 and living in Scotland. Kerry Williams said she has known Fraser about 16 years.
She described Sound Doctrine as a small church, a close family group that “honors God with our lives.”
She said the church has not been able to meet during the past year because “We’ve experienced a hate crime against our church from Athena Dean and articles published in The Courier-Herald.”
Athena Dean is a central figure in the defense case. Dean is a former Sound Doctrine member and former owner of WinePress Publishing. In opening statements Carey characterized Dean as someone who is angry with the church and is friends with the alleged victim’s mother.
The young woman who brought the allegations testified Dean was a friend of her mother, but she had not discussed the case with Dean nor was she close with her.
Kerry Williams testified Dean has caused trouble for the church members since she left in 2011.
“She’s turned our lives upside down,” Williams said. “We started getting a lot of people concerned who we were as a church.”
As for the newspaper, “Things Mr. Box put in the paper” has caused the church problems, she said.
On cross examination, Simmons questioned Williams about a voice over recording she provided for a media outlet.
“I did record a voice over,” Williams said. “What happened to it I don’t know.”
She said she read the script but did not discuss the case or her testimony.
Through redirect from Carey it was presented the script involved prior testimony from forensic psychologist John Yuille and Enumclaw Police Department Det. Grant McCall who conducted the interview of the young woman.
Yuille was a defense expert witness who was critical of McCall’s interview.
Kerry Williams testified under redirect she was not talking to other witnesses and she was, “Already aware of Grant McCall’s feelings toward this church.”
Davidson testified today the Frasers lived with her at Carley Place from November 2005 to March 2006.
She described Fraser as a “father figure and uncle to my kids.”
Davidson’s children are the step grandchildren of Athena Dean.
309 Carley Place
On the morning of May 21, the defense called the landlords, husband and wife Craig and Heidi Fischer, of the Carley Place residence where a number of defense witnesses testified Fraser and his wife lived in 2005 and 2006.
The Fischers were not ruled by the court as hostile witnesses although Carey asked the judge if Heidi Fischer could be considered a hostile witness, allowing her to ask leading questions. The judge denied the request.
The couple testified that Malcolm and Julie Fraser were added as substitute tenants after Davidson’s divorce and Jean Hembree left. The lease originally had included Davidson and Hembree.
The couple said Fraser was added to the lease as a substitute tenant after they met him for 30 minutes.
Neither Craig nor Heidi Fischer could pick Fraser out in the courtroom.
Heidi Fischer said she did not feel the Frasers were really their tenants.
“Over the course of 10 years we really knew our tenants,” she said.
She testified she did not see Malcolm Fraser at the Carley Place home in 2006.
Heide Fischer also testified that Malcolm Fraser sent the couple a letter regarding the lease.
“This was a horrible letter,” Heidi Fischer said. “He was addressing a situation he had no understanding of. Anyone who received a letter like as a landlord would be shocked.”
She said Fraser had meet them for 30 minutes then called out so “many negative things…. It made me feel horrible. We wanted nothing to do with the whole group of them.”
She described Fraser as “controlling and condescending to us” in the letter.
Davidson testified May 22 that Fraser had sent the letter to help her with the landlords over improvements she had done to the home. She said, “Malcolm stepped in on my behalf and let them know it wasn’t appropriate.”