Jury to deliberate in CSC trial.

April 11, 2018

Daniel Durbin. Note: Photograph has been manipulated to remove audience members.

Jury to deliberate in CSC trial.


By Allison Scarbrough. Editor.

HART — A 12-member jury heard testimony from three girls in their early teens during a trial in 27th Circuit Court Wednesday, April 11, for a criminal sexual conduct case against a 34-year-old Holton man.

Daniel James Durbin, of 9260 S. 180th Ave., is charged with two felony counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct (CSC), each of which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison; two felony counts of accosting children for immoral purposes, each of which carry a four-year maximum; one felony count of committing gross indecency between a male and female, which is punishable by up to five years in prison; one high-court misdemeanor of fourth-degree CSC, which carries a two-year maximum; and third-offense habitual offender designation.

Durbin, who is lodged in the Oceana County Jail on a $50,000 cash bond, exercised his right to remain silent and did not testify. He appeared visibly upset in the courtroom.

Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon and Defense Attorney Richard Prysock presented their closing arguments to the jury, which also included a 13th alternate juror, Tuesday afternoon. The jury includes seven women and five men.

Judge Anthony A. Monton talks to the jury.

Bizon commended the girls for their bravery in testifying against Durbin. “On multiple occasions, the defendant violated her,” he said of one of the victims. “Unquestionably, it was against her will.”

“Consistently, the defendant engaged in the same behavior,” Bizon said.

“The adult who was supposed to protect them failed to do so,” Bizon said of co-defendant Ericka Lee Byler, who was Durbin’s girlfriend. Byler was sentenced last December to serve six months up front of a nine-month discretionary jail term for her involvement in the case.

Bizon referred to an alleged incident in which Durbin and Byler engaged in sex and “made them watch them have sex and blocked them from leaving.”

He also described a shower stall used by the girls that had a hole in it, which allowed Durbin to watch them shower “and comment on their bodies.”

“You are to consider the evidence you heard today,” said Prysock, who pointed out that there is no forensic evidence and only testimonial evidence.

Prysock said it doesn’t matter “what I believe; what he (Bizon) believes; what the judge believes; and what anyone else in this


courtroom believes. What matters is what you believe.”

The defense attorney also attempted to plant a seed of reasonable doubt regarding the victims’ accounts, because “no one came forward until a year later.”

“Is it reasonable to believe that something like this occurred? It’s your job,” he said. “You have to determine whether it’s reasonable to believe.”

Judge Anthony A. Monton, who retired last year, is presiding over the trial due to scheduling conflicts for Judge Robert D. Springstead.

Monton told the jury that he will give them final instructions tomorrow morning, April 12, and then they will deliberate. The judge reminded the jurors to “not to talk about this case with anyone — even your family.” He also told them they should not do any “investigating.”

“You decide this case based only on the evidence that was admitted.”

Durbin rejected a plea deal that entailed a guilty plea to one count while dismissing the other counts and capping his prison time at seven years. If he’s convicted at trial of all charges, he would be incarcerated for 8.25 to 20 years, Judge Springstead previously stated.

The alleged sex crimes occurred in Greenwood Township near Hesperia during a time period of Aug. 1, 2016 to July 2, 2017, according to Durbin’s court file.

Byler, who pleaded “no contest,” is convicted of accessory after the fact. She had no prior criminal record.

According to the Offender Tracking Information System (OTIS), Durbin has served three previous prison terms. He was sentenced in 2004 in Ingham County to a three-year maximum sentence for malicious destruction of property to a building $1,000-$20,000. In 2010, he was sentenced in Oceana County to a maximum term of two years for a conviction of assault with a dangerous weapon. Durbin also served a one-year maximum sentence in 2015 for a conviction of maintaining a drug house in Isabella County.

This story is copyrighted © 2018, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.


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