PALESTINE — Willis Demond Carwell, 32, of Palestine, was sentenced to 375 years in prison on five counts of sexual assault of a child on Tuesday at the Anderson County Courthouse.
A jury reached verdicts of 75 years on each count following a sentencing hearing.
Carwell showed little emotion as District Judge Pam Foster Fletcher who presided over the trial read the jury’s decision.
Carwell earlier plead guilty to the assaults which are a second degree felony. However, the possible punishment range was increased to a minimum of five years and maximum of 99 years or life because Carwell had been to prison for burglary of a habitation.
The female child victim testified about how she came to know Carwell.
“My mom took me with her to a meeting of Alcoholic’s Anonymous, and we met and I talked to him (Carwell). He came over to house after that,” the victim said.
The jury heard testimony from Anderson County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Ronnie Foster that DNA testing proved Carwell was the father of the baby born to the victim.
“The defendant’s crime and his lengthy criminal history justify the long prison sentences,” District Attorney Doug Lowe said. “It’s obvious to me that Carwell took advantage of a child and preyed upon her immaturity.”
Evidence showed Carwell was on parole at the time of the crime.