Life without the possibility of parole was the sentence meted out by a Hopkins County district court jury for a 28-year-old Sulphur Springs man.
Jonathan Lee Wood had been charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child, the daughter of his girlfriend, in which he was in a role almost like a stepfather, according to District Attorney Will Ramsay.
Jurors took about 30 minutes to reach the guilty verdict on the charge of continuous sexual assault of a child.
Ramsay called the verdict “quick,” considering the magnitude of the case.
In the punishment phase of the trial, Ramsay and assistant prosecutor Jenni Morse asked jurors to sentence Wood to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
“I asked the jury to show the community what happens to child abusers,” Ramsay said. “They responded with an appropriate life sentence. As I told the jury in closing argument, we aren't going to win the war against child abuse today, but we can sure win the battle directly in front of us.”
The district attorney credited the assistant district attorney with the victory against child abuse.
“She prepared the case for trial and directed most of the key witnesses, which is always difficult in a case of this subject matter,” he said. “Ms. Morse truly has a passion to protect the victims of child abuse.”
Jonathan Wood was arrested in January after deputies received a tip the wanted man might be hiding in a camper trailer in the woods just off State Highway 19 south.
Information leading to the arrest came in an outcry from the child “he had been sexually molesting for as long as she could remember,” according to Chief Sheriff's Investigator Lewis Tatum.
Wood, who has been held in Hopkins County Jail since his arrest, will be transferred to the Institutional Division of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to begin the life sentence as soon as possible.
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