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Supreme Court declines appeal on Chavers trial

The state Supreme Court has denied an appeal from the attorney general’s office that would prevent Larry Richard Chavers from getting a new trial on charges of sexual abuse and sodomy of a child.

An appeals court ruled a year ago that Chavers should get a new trial because one of the jurors in his case did not actually live in Escambia County.

Chavers was convicted in November 2006 and sentenced to 31 years in prison. Before his sentencing, Chavers allegedly tried to flee the country and was apprehended in Mexico. He later was charged with bail jumping and failing to file required forms giving notice as a sex offender of intent to transfer residence. He has yet to stand trial on those charges.

Attorney Paul Harden, who has represented Chavers in his appeal, said his client “is innocent.”

“We look forward to a new trial,” he said.

During his trial, the victim in the case — who was 8 at the time of the incidents — identified Chavers as the man who assaulted her and told jurors of at least 15 instances in which he fondled her or tried to have sex with her.

The Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals ruled in August 2009 that Chavers should get a new trial because one of the jurors actually lived in Florida. The juror had a job at Reid State Technical College, where his employment required an Alabama driver’s license, but he and his wife owned property in Florida.