A Hopkins County jury deliberated only eight minutes, 27 seconds before finding Curtis Charles Reichle, 51, guilty of indecency with a child, and then watched as he was sentenced to life in prison. Reichle was in a grandfather role to the victim.
Reichle was indicted for alleging aggravated sexual assault of a child younger than six years of age. The indictment identified an incident that occurred on July 14, 2013.
District Attorney Will Ramsay said Reichle was later reindicted on the indecency with a child less than six years of age charge.
Testimony began Tuesday morning in the 8th Judicial District Court at the same time County Judge Robert Newsom was issuing a proclamation on the Early Childhood Learning Campus in recognition of National Child Abuse Prevention Month.
Assistant District Attorney Peter Morgan called a string of witnesses including law enforcement officers, a child counselor and two members of the defendant's family.
Two of Reichle's relatives testified as to prior acts of indecency with them in the past, while they were growing up.
The final witness was the victim who acknowledged defendant Reichle as “papa” and, when asked if he had hurt her, she answered “Yes.”
Reichle's court-appointed attorney William Howard McDowell called one witness, Dr. I.L. Balkcom IV, who was questioned regarding types of herpes.
Reichle declined to take the witness stand to testify on his own behalf.
After both prosecution and defense rested early Wednesday afternoon, the jury began its deliberations and took just more than eight minutes to return with a guilty verdict.
Following the guilty verdict, a number of jurors gathered in the courtroom to watch 8th Judicial District Judge Eddie Northcutt sentence the defendant to mandatory life in prison based on his previous probation for the same offense.
Reichle will be eligible for parole after serving 35 calendar years.
McDowell said he felt the jury did its job.
“They were very attentive, I think almost every one of them took notes and paid attention the entire time. We believe in the jury system,” McDowell said. “It didn't go our way this time, but we keep fighting and he plans on appealing.”
Ramsay said he was satisfied by the sentence.
“A Hopkins County jury has ensured that no other child would ever be harmed by Curtis Reichle. This is a man who has been manipulating and sexually abusing children for years,” the district attorney said. “When we are able to obtain a verdict of this magnitude on an individual this evil, we sleep well at night.”
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