BREAKING: Jury clears Hayes on felony sex assault, convicts on misdemeanor sex chargeSubmitted: 12/06/2016
MERRILL - A jury found a Merrill Police and Fire Commission member guilty of having sex with a 17-year-old girl, but not guilty of second-degree sexual assault Tuesday afternoon.

The jury returned its verdict in the David Hayes case around 1:30 p.m.  A woman accused Hayes, 47, of forcing her to perform oral sex on him during a car ride after a picnic in 2012.  The woman was 17 at the time.  She didn't report the incident to police until 2014.

Hayes faced a class C felony and misdemeanor in the case, but the jury decided Hayes was not guilty of sexual assault. He faced up to 40 years in prison for that felony offense. The misdemeanor comes with a maximum prison sentence of nine months.

Newswatch 12's Stephanie Haines is at the Lincoln County Courthouse and will have more on this story at 5 and 6 p.m.

This story will be updated.  Monday's story on Day 1 of the trial is below.

LINCOLN COUNTY - Prosecutors often struggle to turn a "He said, She said" case into a trial.

But the Lincoln County District Attorney's Office thinks it has enough to send a Merrill Police and Fire Commission member to prison.

The case goes back four years, when a then-17-year-old girl claims 47-year-old David Hayes forced her into oral sex.

On Monday, we heard from that woman on the stand.

Investigators believe Hayes and the woman were at a picnic in 2012. The 17-year-old said she had been drinking and asked Hayes for a ride home. She said Hayes assaulted her in the car, saying, "Put out or get out."

But the defense team argued that the girl consented and that Hayes regrets what happened.

Hayes's attorney said that a lot of the details in the case don't make sense and questioned how the woman could only remember certain details and not others.

The state called a Lincoln County deputy as a witness and played us the original interview tape. The state also called in a therapist and finished its arguments late Monday afternoon.

On Tuesday Hayes's attorney plans to call Hayes's wife and possibly even Hayes himself to the witness stand.

Story By: Newswatch 12 News Team

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LINCOLN COUNTY - Prosecutors often struggle to turn a "He said, She said" case into a trial.

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