HONESDALE – A jury in Wayne County has found a care worker not guilty in a case where he was accused of using a clothes iron to burn the man he was supposed to be caring for.
The charges stem from an incident in December of 2012.
It took jurors less than two hours to find Christopher Lein of Stroudsburg not guilty of neglect and aggravated assault.
Lein took the stand Tuesday morning and told the jury he wasn’t the one who took a hot clothes iron and burned a man with mental disabilities. That man is unable to point the finger at whoever did it.
Lein left the Wayne County Courthouse in Honesdale still tearing up after a jury found him not guilty of neglect and aggravated assault.
The former care worker was accused of burning a man who’s unable to move or communicate at a personal care home near Gouldsboro in late 2012.
“My life is back. That’s how I feel right now and I hope they catch the person who actually did this,” said Lein.
With the clothes iron right in front of him, Lein took the stand in his own defense.
“This is a terrible thing to do. I couldn’t imagine how anyone would do this. It’s an evil thing,” he said. “I didn’t do it. This is ridiculous.”
Prosecutors presented DNA evidence showing Lein had handled the iron used at Keystone Community Resources’ Residential Facility in Lehigh Township.
Prosecutors also pointed out that Lein was the only one with the victim overnight but the burns weren’t discovered until hours after his shift ended.
“We all agreed on the fact there was not an issue, the question was who did this, all they had was circumstantial evidence that could have pointed to a lot of different people,” said Lein’s attorney Michael Ventrella.
“Whoever did this got the iron, plugged it in, waited for it to get hot. Then tortured the victim,” said Wayne County Assistant District Attorney Pat Robinson in his closing argument.
The victim, who is unable to move or communicate is still one of only two people who really know who burned him.
And Lein is a free man, acquitted of the heinous crime.
“Christopher was just crying because he was so happy he could get his life back now, he’s been astounded by this and can’t believe it happened to him,” said Ventrella.
Prosecutors said they respect the jury’s verdict even though they don’t agree with it.
They added that nobody in the world deserves to have happen to them what happened to the victim in this case.