A Bowie County jury found a Texarkana, Texas, man guilty of three counts of indecency with a child by sexual contact Wednesday afternoon after several hours of deliberation.
Donald Ray Coleman, 34, will return to the Bowie County courthouse in New Boston for the punishment phase of trial Thursday morning. Coleman faces two to 20 years on each of the three convictions.
The victim, who lives with her father in a town in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, testified that Coleman first assaulted her during the summer of 2014 when she was in Texarkana visiting her mother. The girl said Coleman closed the door after getting her alone in a bedroom, pinned her down and groped her.
The girl testified that when she asked Coleman, “Why,” he responded by saying, “Because I love you.”
The girl reported the abuse to authorities in 2014 but justice moved slowly. When she returned to her mother’s home during the summer of 2016, Coleman, who was living with the mother, assaulted the girl again by sticking his hand down her shirt as she sat at a laptop computer at the kitchen table, the girl testified.
The girl’s older sister, now 20, testified that she and her boyfriend were in a bedroom when the victim came in and asked for a sheet of paper. The older sister said the victim wrote down what had happened to her and that the two decided to tell their mother and call their father.
Coleman packed his bags and left the house that night. In a videotaped interview of Coleman with Texarkana, Texas, Police Department Detective Tabitha Colley, Coleman claims noise and loud music led to his departure, not fear of a confrontation.
Coleman’s lawyer, Public Defender Chad Crowl, argued for an acquittal.
“There is reasonable doubt in this case,” Crowl argued.
Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards argued that the victim’s testimony alone is enough to support a conviction.
“If you believe her, then he’s guilty,” Richards argued. “Don’t hold the failings of adults or the legal system against her.”
Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp argued that cases involving touching don’t allow for the collection of DNA evidence.
“No physical evidence? They’re hanging their hat on that,” Crisp said in closing arguments. “That man is assaulting children faster than we can prosecute him. Justice is a long time coming for Donald Coleman. Give it to him today.”