JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A local man is now rejoicing in his freedom. Jerry Tippins was wrongly jailed for sexually abusing his daughter. A jury recently cleared him of the charges. But not before he spent years behind bars waiting for a trial.
Friday was the first time Tippins has hugged his family without wearing an orange jumpsuit.
“I couldn't soak it in. I couldn't sleep last night,” said Tippins.
Tippins was charged with sexually abusing his 2-year-old daughter in 2006. During a trip to the hospital, a nurse practitioner reported internal bruising and a cut that likely resulted from sexual abuse. Arnold argued there was no evidence to prove how the injuries occurred.
Defense attorney Shawn Arnold took on the case only nine months ago and time wasn't on his side. There was a lot of work coming into the case almost six years into it, said Arnold.
Action News wanted to know why Tippins was left waiting for his trial for years. “I don't know. I know that it passed through a lot of prosecutors, a lot of public defenders and for whatever reasons it was never readied for trial,” said Arnold.
Arnold admits no one should have to wait that long for their trial. But says that's the sad truth of our system. Meanwhile this father is thankful for the men who fought for his freedom. Now, the only thing Tippins has left to fight is lost time.
“My main goal: get my daughter back. Start my life over when it shouldn't have been torn apart.”
Tippins is now in the process of fighting for custody of his child in civil court.