Man gets life without parole for child sex abuse in Bowie County

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A man who sexually abused three different victims was sentenced to life without parole Wednesday following a jury trial in Bowie County.

Derrick Harper, 32, was found guilty of two counts of continuous sexual abuse of a child involving two girls who are now 12 and 13. The girls were approximately 5 and 6 years old when Harper first abused them at a residence in Texarkana, Texas. Harper was sentenced to life on each count involving the two younger victims.

First Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp said there is no parole from any term assessed for continuous sexual abuse of a child.

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A woman who is now 25 testified that Harper sexually abused her when she was 5 or 6 and living in Crossett, Arkansas, and again when she was 13 and visiting family in Texarkana, Texas. She testified that she decided to come forward after learning of the charges against Harper involving the two younger girls.

Harper was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault of a child and sentenced to life for sexually abusing the oldest victim.

“The Bowie County District Attorney’s office is thankful to represent a community that strongly and swiftly condemns horrendous criminal behavior including Derrick Harper’s unspeakable sexual abuse of children,” Crisp said. “Further, we are thankful for professional law enforcement agencies, including the Texarkana, Texas Police Department and the Bowie County Sheriff’s Office, that work together to deliver justice to our community’s most vulnerable members. Our office hopes this verdict – life in prison without the possibility of parole – encourages anyone victimized by abuse to come forward, work with law enforcement, and seek justice.”

Crisp and Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards asked the jury to sentence Harper to life in prison. Harper was represented by the Bowie County Public Defender’s Office. 202nd District Judge John Tidwell presided.

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