A Bowie County jury sentenced a Texarkana man to two 20-year sentences Wednesday afternoon for sexual assaults involving a 14-year-old girl in 2014.
Jason Scott Estes, 30, was tearful before court convened Wednesday morning as a member of his family told him to remember, “Faith, love and hope.” Before 5th District Judge Bill Miller seated the jury of four men and eight women, Estes pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault of a child with the help of Texarkana attorney Mike Lusk.
While Estes pleaded guilty, he asked that the jury assess his punishment. After hearing testimony well into Wednesday afternoon, the jury handed down two 20-year terms which Miller ordered to run concurrently. The jury fined Estes $5,000 on each count also. Twenty years was the maximum sentence Estes faced on the second-degree charges.
The victim, now 16, testified that her parents invited Estes to stay at their house in July 2014 during a period of separation from his wife. The girl said Estes began flirting with her and that after her parents had gone to bed one night he began kissing her and then carried her to her bedroom. The girl said she and Estes engaged in sex multiple times during his approximately four-month stay at her parent’s home.
The girl’s step-father testified that he was at home on a day in mid-July when he heard a loud noise. The step-father said he looked out the window and spotted a car he recognized as Estes’ brother’s before finding Estes had kicked in the door to his home and was standing in his kitchen. The step-father said Estes spoke of “vengeance” and putting sugar in his gas tank.
The girl’s mother testified she knew nothing of the inappropriate relationship between Estes and her daughter until a woman with whom Estes has several daughters appeared at their home to confront the victim. It was then that the victim’s mother contacted the authorities.
Estes’ current wife, with whom he has a 15-month-old son, testified that she fears her son will grow up without a father. The grandfather of Estes’ daughters, 8, 7, and 2, testified that Estes and his daughter have signed over their parental rights to the girls and that he and his wife, the girls’ grandparents, are adopting them. The grandfather said Estes has kicked in doors at his home and showed signs of anger and drug problems.
Assistant District Attorneys Lauren Richards and Kelley Crisp argued that Estes has long managed to skate by without consequences despite his behavior having such a negative impact on several families and his own children.
“He’s operating under the idea that he can do whatever he wants,” Richards argued. “Send him a message about how you feel about his behavior.”
Richards referred to testimony from Bowie County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Robby McCarver that he interviewed co-workers of Estes’ who said Estes boasted about having sex with the teen girl. McCarver also chronicled Estes misdemeanor convictions for criminal trespass, driving while intoxicated and a judgment for contempt for failing to pay child support.
“He violated that child,” Crisp argued. “Look at all those families he’s left in his wake.”
Upon release, Estes will have to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.