GILMER -- A state district judge sentenced a Mineola man with two prior felony convictions to life imprisonment today after a jury convicted him Wednesday of aggravated sexual assault of a 6-year-old child, said Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd.
Jason Wayne Belcher, 35, had pleaded not guilty in 115th District Court, and chose to be sentenced by 115th District Judge Lauren Parish rather than the 7-man, 5-woman jury, Byrd said. Belcher will be ineligible for parole for 30 years, the prosecutor said in a news release.
The child was sexually abused at an Upshur County home in January 2012 while the youngster's mother was at work, Byrd said.
The jury had been presented today with evidence that Belcher had previous convictions of aggravated sexual assault of a child in Dallas County in 1999 and burglary of a habitation in Wood County in 2000, Byrd said.
"In addition, the jury heard evidence from another child that in February of 2014, she outcried to a teacher at a local school district that this defendant had been raping her for several years. The jury heard evidence surrounding that investigation that is ongoing in Wood County," added Byrd, who was joined by Assistant District Attorney Natalie Miller in prosecuting the case.
Gilmer attorney Brandon Winn represented Belcher.
While crediting former Upshur Sheriff's investigator Chris McCauley for probing the case, Byrd expressed appreciation to Wood County District Attorney Jim Wheeler, Wood County Sheriff's investigator Kyle Henson, and Wood County crime victim coordinator Robin Sherwood for their assistance in the case.