Closing arguments were slated to begin Thursday morning in the retrial of Michael Burgund on charges of child molestation, as a standing-room-only crowd filled the courtroom.
In April 2011, Burgund walked into the Alton Police Department and confessed to molesting two toddlers between the ages of 1 and 3. Until that point, there had been no investigation or allegations against Burgund. Charges were filed quickly, but Burgund later recanted, alleging that he never abused the girls and was coerced into his confession by their mother, who he said had brainwashed him and tricked him into believing he had abused the children.
Burgund's first trial took place in 2013 before then-Circuit Judge Ann Callis, and the older child testified against him. Burgund was convicted of five counts of predatory sexual assault and sentenced to life in prison.
But the 5th District Appellate Court in Mount Vernon overturned the conviction and granted him a new trial. In its decision, the appellate court said that the girl’s testimony was vague and medical evidence was inconclusive, and that Callis should have permitted expert testimony that, according to the defense, would have shown that Burgund was highly suggestible.
The second trial began last week, with two days necessary just to pick the jury. Burgund testified in his own defense Tuesday. “I started doubting my own reality,” he said, according to the Alton Telegraph. “I had come to believe that I had done those things. I thought it was truer than what I thought was true.”
Burgund has been free since August 2017 on $100,000 cash bond posted by his mother against a $1 million bail. He has been under instructions not to have any contact with the girls or their mother, and may not be alone with any minor children.