Bowie County jury gives maximum in child sex abuse trial


New Boston, Texas–A Bowie County jury sentenced a Hooks, Texas, man to 20 years in prison Thursday after finding him guilty of indecency with a child by sexual contact.

Daniel Mooneyham, 33, continued to deny his guilt when he took the stand Thursday during the punishment phase of his trial, under questioning by his attorney, Kristian Young of Texarkana. Mooneyham’s victim, now 12, testified Wednesday that Mooneyham touched her at her parent’s home while he was a guest there Oct. 2, 2014.

The jury deliberated for about three hours Wednesday before being released for the night by 202nd District Judge John Tidwell with instructions to return to the Bowie County courthouse in New Boston the following morning to resume deliberations. The jury of six men and six women returned a guilty verdict mid-morning Thursday.

A second girl, now 12, testified during the punishment phase of trial Thursday that Mooneyham sexually assaulted her in 2011 when she was a 7-year-old. The second victim’s mother was in a romantic relationship with Mooneyham at the time.

First Assistant District Attorney Michael Shepherd and Assistant District Attorney Katie Carter asked the jury to send a message that conduct such as Mooneyham’s won’t be tolerated in Bowie County.

In contrast to the hours it took to decide if Mooneyham was guilty of sexual indecency, the jury spent about 10 minutes deliberating before reaching a decision on Mooneyham’s punishment. In addition to the maximum 20-year prison term, the jury assessed a maximum $10,000 fine.

Two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child connected to Mooneyham’s conduct with the second victim are still pending in Bowie County. Aggravated sexual assault of a child is punishable by five to 99 years or life in prison. A date for trial on those charges has not been scheduled.

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