Gilmer Man Sentenced To 80 Years For Indecency With A Child
By PHILLIP WILLIAMS
GILMER -- An Upshur County district judge sentenced a Gilmer man to 80 years in prison Wednesday after a jury convicted him of indecency with a child and the judge found him to be a habitual criminal, Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd said.
A jury took about 30 minutes to convict 44-year-old Kevin Leray Henderson of exposing himself to a 4-year-old girl while performing a lewd act last Sept. 30, Byrd said. The incident occurred at a Gilmer apartment complex where Henderson was a maintenance worker, the prosecutor said.
The state alleged Henderson was working in a vacant second-floor apartment above the apartment where the child lived, and that he committed the act while the girl was outside her apartment below. The child did not testify, but the girl's mother testified she (the mother) went to the parking lot to retrieve items from her vehicle and witnessed the incident, Byrd said.
Defense attorney Dwight Brannon argued that the state could not meet its requirement to prove Henderson knew the girl was present, Byrd said. However, prosecution witnesses testified the girl was outside when Henderson went to work in the vacant apartment, and that he knew she was there, the district attorney said.
Byrd said the state also presented photographs of the scene to prove Henderson could see the child.
In addition, a now 15-year-old girl testified that on multiple occasions when she and a friend were playing basketball at the apartment complex two years ago, the defendant exposed himself to them while performing a lewd act, Byrd said.
In the trial's punishment phase, two women testified that Henderson had stalked them, and exposed himself to them while performing the lewd act, the prosecutor said.
The district attorney said he filed a motion to enhance the punishment for Henderson on the grounds the defendant was a habitual offender who had four prior felony convictions, including one in federal court. None were for sex crimes.
Byrd said that since 115th District Judge Lauren Parish determined Henderson was a habitual criminal, the punishment range was increased from the normal two to 10 years to 25 years to life in prison. The prosecutor said he asked for a sentence of at least 60 years.
Henderson would have to serve at least 15 years of the 80-year term before becoming eligible for parole, but plans to appeal the conviction, Byrd said.