An Anderson County jury sentenced Willis Demond Carwell, 32, of Palestine to a total of 375 years in prison on five counts of sexual assault of a child on Tuesday afternoon at the Anderson County Courthouse
The jury of eight men and four women reached verdicts of 75 years on each count at 1:13 p.m. Tuesday following a sentencing hearing that began on Monday in the court of State District Judge Pam Foster Fletcher.
Anderson County Assistant District Attorney Elizabeth Watkins represented the State of Texas with assistance from District Attorney Doug Lowe. Local attorney Mark Cargill represented Carwell.
Carwell, who showed little emotion as the verdict was read, had earlier pleaded guilty to the assaults which are second degree felony. However, the possible punishment range was increased to a minimum of five years and maximum of 99 years or life because Carwell had been to prison for burglary of a habitation.
The female child victim, now 15, testified in response to questioning by ADA Watkins about how she came to know Carwell.
“My mom took me with her to a meeting of Alcoholic’s Anonymous and we met and I talked to him (Carwell). He came over to my house after that,” the victim said. “He came to my 14th birthday party.
“The first time we had sex I left my window unlocked and he snuck in. When we had sex I thought it was wrong, but didn’t say anything,” the victim testified. “I felt like I was in love with him (Carwell). He was 31, but I didn’t think about his age.”
The victim testified that she was getting a urinary infection and was taken to the hospital by her mother.
“The nurse told me I was pregnant. My mom was in shock,” she said. “I had the baby because I believe abortion is wrong. I plan on raising my baby.”