Bowie County man gets life for sexual abuse of 9-year-old girl

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A Bowie County man received a life sentence Thursday for sexually abusing a 9-year-old girl in 2013.

Donald Harrell, Jr., 60, was found guilty of two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child and one count of indecency with a child by contact by a jury of eight women and four men Thursday at the end of a two-day jury trial. The jury sentenced Harrell to two life terms plus 20 years and 5th District Judge Bill Miller ordered the sentences to run at the same time.

Assistant District Attorneys Kelley Crisp and Lauren Richards prosecuted Harrell. Texarkana lawyer Butch Dunbar managed Harrell’s defense. The girl, now 11, is a relative of Harrell’s who spent time at his home in New Boston, Texas, in January 2013. According to a probable cause affidavit, Harrell made the girl watch pornographic videos on his computer and engaged in repeated sexual misconduct with her.

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At trial, Harrell testified under questioning from Dunbar that he couldn’t have molested the girl because a bevy of prescription drugs he must take for a variety of physical maladies, including hepatitis C, genital herpes, diabetes and high blood pressure, have rendered him impotent and reduced his sexual desire. Crisp asked Harrell under cross examination about statements he made to an investigator concerning his habit of watching pornography.

The state was able to present testimony from two girls Harrell babysat in 2011 when they lived across the street from him in New Boston. One of the neighbors testified that Harrell showed her pornography and sexually abused her when she was nine. The other girl testified Harrell made sexual comments and looked up her dress when she was 10.

Crisp said Harrell will not be eligible for parole until he has served at least 30 years.

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