In 2008, after the regular required home study visits, John and Carolyn Jackson were recommended as suitable adoptive parents. Now, six years later, the same case worker has testified against the couple in federal court.

The Jacksons are accused of abusing their three children by withholding water, beating them, withholding medical care, and force-feeding them hot pepper flakes and sauce. The defense attorney asked for a mistrial after the caseworker stated to the jury that theirs was “the worst case of neglect and abuse” she had ever seen. The judge rejected the request for a mistrial and instead instructed the jury to disregard that statement.

The children were removed from the home in 2010 and have been in foster care since.