The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local News

November 1, 2013

Man gets 375 years for sexual assault of a child

(Continued)

PALESTINE —

The jury heard testimony from Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Ronnie Foster, the case’s lead investigator, that DNA testing proved Carwell was the father of the baby born to the victim.

Jessi Jones, RN and Anderson County Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, testified that the child victim’s physical development was age appropriate for a 14-year-old, but that the victim was obviously emotionally immature.

“She told me that they were going to get married and live happily ever after,” Jones related to the jury. “This is why the law says children cannot consent to sexual encounters. Even if they have the physical ability to have sex, they are not emotionally equipped to handle the results.”

In closing arguments, Watkins reminded the jury that it was not the victim's responsibility to say no, but the defendant's.

“This defendant was manipulative and a user,” she said. “It’s not up to a child to say ‘no;’ it’s up to the 31-year-old grown man not to prey on a vulnerable and easy target. And, now it’s up to you to decide the right punishment.”

Evidence presented during the trial showed Carwell was on parole at the time of the crime.

Under Texas law, an offender serving a 75-year sentence is eligible for parole after 30 years. However, Judge Fletcher elected to “stack” one of the sentences so Carwell will serve at least 60 years before he is eligible for parole.

“The defendant’s crime and his lengthy criminal history justify the long prison sentences,” Lowe added. “It’s obvious to me that Carwell took advantage of a child and preyed upon her immaturity.”

The identity of the victim or victim’s family is not provided in order to protect the privacy of the injured parties.

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Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at mrainwater@palestineherald.com

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