Man rejects plea offer, gets max sentence from jury

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NEW BOSTON, Texas: A 23-year-old Texarkana man who rejected an offer from the state for a three-year prison term in a child sex abuse case was sentenced by a Bowie County jury Wednesday to a maximum 20-year term.

Shaquyl Blackwell made it clear at a pretrial hearing Monday before 202nd District Judge John Tidwell that he was declining the state’s offer of three years for indecency with a child by contact, an offense punishable by two to 20 years in prison. After one day of testimony Wednesday the jury of five men and seven women returned a guilty verdict and chose to give Blackwell the maximum punishment. The jury also assessed a $5,000 fine.

Blackwell must register as a sex offender when he is released from prison.

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Blackwell was allegedly left in charge of the girl while she was visiting her aunt at a Texarkana, Texas, apartment complex Dec. 11, 2016, according to a probable cause affidavit. Blackwell allegedly touched the girl inappropriately through her clothing and told her, “You’re still a virgin,” afterward. The girl’s mother reported the alleged abuse and the girl was interviewed at the Texarkana Children’s Advocacy Center.

First Assistant District Attorney Michael Shepherd and Assistant District Attorney Katie Carter prosecuted the case. Blackwell was represented by Bowie County Public Defender Shoaib Daredia.

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