Reklaw Man Gets 30 Years For Sexual Assault
By KELLY GOOCH
A Reklaw man convicted of sexually assaulting a girl in 2009 was sentenced to 30 years in prison on Thursday by Judge Dwight Phifer.
John Hinds, 26, faced from five to 99 years or life in prison for aggravated sexual assault of a child, a first-degree felony.
"I'm very happy with it. I think the judge considered all the evidence and acted appropriately," Cherokee County District Attorney Elmer Beckworth said of the punishment.
Attorney Joe Shumate, who represented Hinds at trial, was not immediately available for comment at his office late Thursday afternoon.
Beckworth said during Hinds' trial that what happened on or about Jan. 10, 2009 was a "violation of a 12-year-old girl" and a "violation of trust."
He said Hinds didn't have a place to stay, so he asked the girl's mother if he could stay at her house. Chrishilla Camplain and Destiny Jared, two teenagers in the home, stayed up late, the girl's mother went to bed first, and the 12-year-old went to sleep on a small couch in the same room with Hinds, he said.
When the girl woke up, Hinds was beside her and touched her inappropriately, Beckworth told jurors.
He said the victim later woke up again, went into the bedroom where Ms. Camplain and Ms. Jared were, shut the door, and told them that Hinds was messing with her.
Ms. Camplain testified earlier in the trial that she went into the living room and called Hinds a name, without saying anything about what the victim told her. She said Hinds responded by saying that nothing happened.
In addition to Ms. Camplain and Ms. Jared, the girl also went to counselors and prosecutors and talked about the sexual abuse she encountered, Beckworth said.
"This is clearly a case of who you believe -- (the girl) or John Hinds," he told jurors. She "immediately told (Ms. Camplain), later told her mother, and has consistently said she was messed with and touched."
At one point during his trial, Hinds testified that he did not assault the girl or "touch her in any inappropriate way." He also has said he knew there was a warrant out for him from Cherokee County, but he didn't know what it was for and wasn't going to turn himself in for something he didn't do.
Hinds has also said he told a relative that he, "didn't know if I did it, but if I did do it, I would know about it."
During the punishment phase, Hinds' reputation was discussed, and there was some evidence about him molesting another girl, Beckworth said.
Hinds will be eligible for parole in 15 years.