UPDATE: Jury finds former teacher’s aide guilty of sodomy

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - A Madison County jury has found a former teacher's aide guilty of first-degree sodomy.

The jury returned with the verdict in Michael Horton's trial just before lunchtime Friday.  Jurors had deliberated for nearly two days.

WHNT News 19's Kristen Conner reports Horton appeared confused, looking at the jury quizzically as the foreman read the verdict.  His attorney immediately asked for a pre-sentencing investigation.

Horton's family cried as the verdict was read.  His wife, Pauletta Horton, said her husband is innocent.  She said their family is devastated, adding that they always try to help others but it backfired here.

Horton sat doubled over in a chair, appearing emotional and holding tissues.  He was put in handcuffs and taken to the Madison County Jail, where he will be held until his sentencing date.

Prosecutors said the jury made the right decision, and justice was served.

Jurors deadlocked earlier

Earlier Friday, jurors said they were stuck, and couldn't reach a verdict. The judge urged them to continue deliberating, using what's commonly referred to as the "Dynamite Charge." The 12 were handed the case Wednesday afternoon.

Jurors came in the courtroom Friday at 10 a.m. to say they could not reach a unanimous verdict.  Judge Dennis O'Dell said it's the jury's duty to do their best and be fair, and work to reach a verdict.  Jurors took a short break and then returned to the jury room.

Horton was accused of sexually abusing a child who was in his care.  It had been nearly five years since his arrest in 2009, with the alleged abuse happened in 2008.

Prosecutors say Horton was taking care of the child, who was entrusted to him by the mother. When she began noticing behavioral changes in her child, she took the victim back to live with family.

Defense attorneys counter that this is a story concocted by the child's family, and Horton is innocent.

The case was delayed several times, due to numerous circumstances. It's taken years to get to the point where it's finally in a jury's hands.

Horton used to work at Providence Elementary.


    • Red

      What part of our judicial system are you not pleased with Elizabeth? The part that takes whatever time is required to give a person a fair trial or the part of it that doesn’t usually rush to wrongly convict a person?

  • Deanna

    I don’t know the facts or evidence surrounding this case but I do know that my son and several other young boys in our old neighborhood spent lots of time with mr. Horton outside of school activities. They attended 2 spring retreats with a group supervised by mr Horton and his sweet wife and my son also attended his after school program in madison. I can say with certainty that our experience with him and his family was a good one. We all were stunned and in disbelief to hear this 5 years ago. It may be true but I never saw any indicators of him being a pediphile

    • Huntsville

      Mr. Horton and his entire Family are good people. I do not believe this type of behavior took place by Mr. Horton. The Jury failed this one, but I guess the 1 that had doubt he was guilty was convinced by others on the jury, and that same one is now home with those same doubts of Mr.Horton being guilty!! This is sad!!!

  • Troy Moore

    i have seen this man before…our problem is we are to judgmental of professional, neat, men who have a passion in life to help children,etc. this man cannot be guilty!..this is all jealousy and ignorance. why must we destroy young black men with this sickness..damage and defame his character…my God have mercy on that family and child..whomever this man is…i pray he is found not Guilty so he can do what he passionate about. this is a LIE from the pit of Hell. we must stop doing this….have evidence and truth before damaging lives.

    hang on brother..VICTORY IS COMING

  • jamie johnson

    With all due respect to his intentions as a care giver, men like him should know better. Every time, a grown man puts themselves at the fore front in children’s welfare, at the expense of their own children is fertile grounds for set ups whetehr real or imagined.

  • jamie johnson

    For you grown men, please find ‘real’ jobs!! leave this stuff to women and concentrate on your own children, for the most part!..Mr. Horton might have had no ill intentions but society these days is a joint stock company in which everybody works to secure the other’s bread. I hope he’s ‘freed’ or gets a lighter sentence but this should be a warning to all those grown azzz men who loaf around kids under the guise of being a ‘good-member-of-the-community’ or mentors for that matter and end up in these situations. So goes for all church folk!! youth pastors, counselors, trip leaders and what not. Watch yourselves. You have no business sitting in jail cell for five years without bond awaiting trial with an already pre-determined result.

    • Free Horton

      Someone give Mr. Jamie an English Book. You seem to think he is innocent too huh? You are contradicting yourself very much sir through your comments.

  • So Sad

    I know Mr. Horton, his wife, and family. I know the work he has done with the youth and I am appalled at these allegations. He is an upstanding man who cares about young people. The reason why this case took so long was because of a lack of evidence. Its clear that even the jury had a problem finding him guilty initially because they were deadlocked!!! We rely so heavily on justice system being “just,” but in this case, they got it WRONG!!!!

  • jamie johnson

    This is one of those cases that can easily be won on appeal. Now, the judge in this case kept on ‘telling’ jurors to keep trying!!!!… File an appeal. This insistence by the judge to force an outcome is unconstitutional and is grounds for retrial. Again, this is my appeal to grown men…leave these kids alone to their parents!!!.. All these good will programs with kids should be conducted in very ‘lit’ areas!! Very sad.

  • unsettled

    Bob and free horton do you guys know what you are talking about? Did you live with the guy or were you there when it happened? You shouldn’t comment on things you know nothing about.

    • Free Horton

      Apparently, the jury had a hard time being convinced it actually happened, so your question is right back at you; were you present? If so maybe you should had been a witness in this trial! I know Mr.Horton personally an bad things happen to good people trying to help other ” hood rats” who don’t want to take care of their children. The mommy trusted him with the child so if she suspected other kinds of abnormal behavior and became suspicious, why would you continue to take the child to Michael?? I can comment on whatever I want to, this forum is an open discussion and I have my opinion and by the way, what relation are you?

  • Free Horton

    In January, the D.A. filed motion to drop charges because the victim wouldn’t cooperate. All she wanted was a set of new tires, maybe this is how the charges came back up huh? They must brought a set of Michelin’s or Dunlop to get the victim to pursue!!


    File an appeal. This case has several legal errors and can be won on appeal. Mr. Horton and all his folk should seriously consider filing an appeal. i’ll donate to his legal fund. just tell me where and how. This case is ridiculous.

  • Red

    Why did the person speaking at the end of the video mention failed polygraphs? I just checked, and polygraph reports are not admissible in Alabama courts.

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