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Jury clears man of all charges in alleged Watertown home invasion

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A Depauville man was found not guilty Wednesday of all counts against him stemming from an alleged home invasion in Watertown in May 2012.

Following a three-day Jefferson County Court trial, a jury deliberated less than an hour before clearing Jack C. Yates of first- and second-degree burglary, third- and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree menacing counts.

It had been alleged that on May 9, 2012, he unlawfully entered the East Hoard Street apartment of his ex-girlfriend, Kimberly S. Sargent, and threatened her with a knife. Ms. Sargent had testified that Mr. Yates was upset that the relationship ended and barged into her new residence, repeatedly shoving her against a refrigerator and a counter and, at a point, stomping on her hips and legs with work boots. She also claimed Mr. Yates waved a knife in front of her, threatening to kill her, her girlfriend and himself.

With its verdict, the jury rejected all of the claims. Mr. Yates’s defense attorney, Eric T. Swartz, said he believed the testimony of Ms. Sargent’s son, Jordan J. Page, was key to jury’s finding. Mr. Page, who now lives and works with Mr. Yates, testified on Mr. Yates’s behalf, stating at one point that he had chosen to live with Mr. Yates over his mother after the break-up.

“I just think that the truth came out,” Mr. Swartz said after the verdict. “She tried to destroy the life of a guy who loved her and took care of her and who loved her son and took care of him.”

Mr. Swartz said he believed that Mr. Page’s testimony, coupled with several others, about Ms. Sargent’s drug use created questions for the jury about her credibility. Ms. Sargent, 40, served about 15 months in state prison for a cocaine possession conviction but testified that she had not used any illegal substances since being released in 2009. However, Mr. Page and others testified that they had done drugs with Ms. Sargent since then, or that they had direct knowledge that she had used drugs.

“I caught her in about a million lies,” Mr. Swartz said.

Had Mr. Yates been convicted of the top count, first-degree burglary, he would have faced a minimum prison sentence of five to 25 years.

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