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Chritton's neighbors testify in trial

Published On: Mar 11 2013 02:30:36 PM CDT
Updated On: Mar 07 2013 07:33:51 AM CST

On the eighth day of testimony in the trial for a Madison man accused of locking his emaciated teenage daughter in the basement, prosecutors called neighbors to the stand to testify about their observations of the Chritton family's home life.

Chad Chritton is charged with party to six felonies, including false imprisonment and child neglect resulting in bodily harm. District Attorney Ismael Ozanne told jurors that the 15-year-old girl was denied food and locked in the basement by her family until she wasted away to 68 pounds.

On the stand Wednesday, Marsha Clark, a retired Stoughton police detective, said she was bothered by the things she'd see the girl doing outside.

Clark said she was particularly disturbed by the chores she saw Chritton's daughter doing without any help.

"She was being yelled at to take a cement block from one side of the house to the other," Clark said.

Clark testified that on another occasion, she saw the girl push an oversized can from one side of the house to the other.

"And I witnessed her parents sitting on the front step, yelling at her to get the garbage can out to the street," Clark said.

Clark reported the behavior to Dane County Human Services, but she didn't know how they might have followed up.

When Clark moved out of state, her daughter continued calling her, voicing concerns about Chritton's daughter.

"I had asked my children whenever they saw her out shoveling alone to help or offer her winter clothing. We offered her food sometimes," said Melissa Clark, Chritton's neighbor.

Melissa Clark said the girl never accepted the help. Melissa Clark's children also testified that Chritton's daughter appeared to have a mental illness and threatened to run away, then gave this description of her: "She was very skinny, didn't wear many clothes and at one point her head was shaved."

The prosecution is expected to call Chritton's daughter to the stand as they continue to build their case.

The defense hasn't called any witnesses yet and the trial could very well go into a third week.

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