Man gets 45 years for sexual indecency

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New Boston, Texas: A Texarkana man found guilty Wednesday of three counts of sexual indecency with a child was sentenced to a total 45-year sentence Thursday.

Donald Ray Coleman, 34, did not testify during the two-day trial. Wednesday a jury of eight women and four men found Coleman guilty of three counts of indecency with a child by contact. Two of the counts occurred in 2014 and the third in 2016. The victim, who lives out of town with her father, testified that Coleman pinned her down and touched her sexually in 2014 and that he stuck his hand down her shirt during a visit in 2016.

Thursday the jury heard testimony from the victim’s older sister during the punishment phase of Coleman’s trial. The victim’s sister testified that she was sexually abused by Coleman repeatedly from about age 11. An indictment handed down in Bowie County last month accuses Coleman of aggravated sexual assault of a child and of sexual indecency with a child involving the victim’s now 20-year-old sister. That indictment remains pending.

The jury handed down sentences of 20, 15 and 10 years. At the request of prosecutors, 5th District Judge Bill Miller ordered the sentences to run consecutively for a total 45-year sentence. The maximum Coleman faced on each count was 20 years.

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Assistant District Attorney Lauren Richards told the jury that Coleman’s days of getting away with fondling and abusing young girls should end.

“Donald Coleman is a predator and an opportunist and he’s been at this for many years,” Richards argued. “Your job as the jury is to give those girls justice and give Donald Coleman what he’s earned and what he deserves.”

Richards told the jury that their guilty verdicts Wednesday sent a powerful message to the victim and her sister, who have made repeated outcries of inappropriate conduct by Coleman, and to other victims of sexual abuse.

“He thinks he’s been getting away with it for so long. Those days are over,” Richards argued. “By believing her story you not only validate her but other victims in cases like these.”

Because Coleman’s case involved allegations of touching, physical evidence, such as DNA, was unavailable. The case essentially amounted to whether the jury found the testimony of Coleman’s accusers truthful.

Coleman’s attorney, Bowie County Public Defender Chad Crowl, argued that Coleman is, “more than the worst thing he’s ever done,” and pointed to testimony from Coleman’s sister, mother and pastor. Coleman’s clergyman and family described him as a loving, responsible, hard-working man.

“His sister, who by all accounts, is a loving, law-abiding citizen, said, ‘If you take him away, you take him from my children,'” Assistant District Attorney Kelley Crisp argued in closing remarks to the jury. “I pray that you do. In the penitentiary there are no children.”

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