After deliberating more than two hours Tuesday afternoon, a Hopkins County jury sentenced Charles Ray Miller Sr., 63, to a total of 200 years in prison for indecency with a child by sexual contact.
District Attorney Will Ramsay said the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison was set for each of the 10 indictments against Miller.
Before his trial was to begin, Miller decided to plead guilty to the 10 indictments and have a jury assess punishment, according to the district attorney.
During the trial, the jury heard evidence of abuse that occurred over a period of approximately six years, as Miller would baby sit his great niece.
“The victim testified that [Miller] would make her watch pornographic material and molest her on a daily basis while she was staying at his house,” Ramsay said. “The victim was anywhere from six to 12 years of age at the time of the abuse.”
The district attorney said he chose the number of 10 for the number of charges although it was possible the occurrences of indecency would number into the hundreds.
During the trial, Miller pleaded for leniency from the jury of 11 women and one man.
A Vietnam veteran, Miller told jurors from his wheel chair he had been injured during his military service and that he struggled with post trauma stress disorder [PTSD] and schizophrenia.
Under cross-examination by the district attorney, Miller agreed that his injuries and mental illness played no part in the acts of indecency he was on trial for.
Following Miller’s plea for leniency, Ramsay called another witness to testify as a rebuttal witness for the state who said she had also watched pornography with Miller when she was a child and that he had attempted to kiss her inappropriately and that she was able to get away from him.
“Some of these acts occurred 10 years ago,” Ramsay said. “If certain people had not done the right thing, this victim would have carried the weight of these secrets for the rest of her life. We were able to hold this man accountable for the horrendous acts of abuse that occurred during the victim’s childhood.
“Now, the victim is a beautiful young woman with a child of her own,” the district attorney continued. “We were able to show the jury pictures of the victim as she appeared during the time of the abuse and the jury was able to look past the young woman and see the child that existed 10 years ago.”
Ramsay said the victim showed “incredible courage and grace as she took the stand in front of her ‘Uncle Charlie’ and relieve the six years of horror that she just wants to forget. Because of her courage, he was held responsible.
After the jury sentenced the man to 20 years on each of the 10 guilty pleas, the district attorney asked Eighth Judicial District Judge Eddie Northcutt to order the sentences be served consecutively - 200 years.
The request was granted in part with the court ordering nine of the sentences to run concurrently with the final 20-year sentence to begin only after the other nine are satisfied.
The district attorney said that because of parole rules, Miller will spend a minimum of 20 calendar years behind bars before he is eligible for parole.
Ramsay said he is in hopes this verdict will show people that they can have the courage to come forward.
“These are not secrets and burdens that the victims have to carry alone,” he said. “This Hopkins County jury told this young lady that these acts of abuse will not be forgotten and that the innocence of her childhood has such great worth.”
A spokesman with Hopkins County Sheriff’s Department said Wednesday morning that he expected Miller to be transferred to the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice next week.
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