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Chritton family friend testifies at trial

Published On: Mar 12 2013 06:20:43 PM CDT   Updated On: Mar 12 2013 06:28:21 PM CDT
Chad Chritton

A family friend of a Madison man accused of abusing his teenage daughter testified Tuesday in the trial, which is in its third week of testimony.

Chad Chritton is charged with party to six felonies, including false imprisonment and child neglect resulting in bodily harm.

Dane County prosecutors have said the 15-year-old girl was locked in the basement and denied food by her family until she wasted away to 68 pounds.

On Tuesday, the defense called witnesses, including Chritton family friend Mike Ellis, who contradicted earlier testimony about who controlled the basement door lock.

Ellis said the daughter controlled who entered and exited. He also said the girl was offered food but wouldn't eat when he was there.

A neighbor who testified Tuesday recalled a time when the girl ran away from home and showed up at her home until Chritton came to get her. The neighbor said nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

"It was just a disagreement with her parents. She wanted to do something and they said no, so she wanted to run away. I guess she had done this more often but never went anywhere. It was just a disagreement with the parents," said Dorene Barlow.

As the prosecution rests, defense attorneys are expected to present witnesses through the end of the week.

  • PHOTOS: Madison store helps collect hundreds of Teddy bears for police

    MADISON, Wis.--A west Madison store is part of an effort to collect hundreds of stuffed animals to donate to six police departments in Southern Wisconsin.

    Todd Merryfield, owner of The Learning Shop at 714 S. Gammon Road, said the store is collecting the bears for officers who use them to help comfort children with whom police come in contact.

    "This is a great way to support what (police) do," Merryfield said. "Those are the kids that need something like this to reassure them, calm them down, and let them know that things are all right."

    Nearly 500 plush animals were donated Tuesday, a Learning Shop spokeswoman said. The Madison store's effort is part of a larger initiative through the Bears for Humanity organization. 

    Photos by Doug Wahl

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