According to Henderson County officials, it took a jury of eleven women and one man fewer than thirty minutes to sentence a man for sexually assaulting a child to whom he was related.
Horace "Joe" Barker, 47, of Athens, received a sentence of Life in the Texas Department of Corrections after that same jury convicted him of Aggravated Sexual Assault on Thursday night.
The trial was held in Judge Carter Tarrance's 392nd District Court, and Assistant District Attorneys Nancy Rumar and Jenny Huckle prosecuted the case on behalf of Scott McKee's District Attorney's Office.
The conviction comes after the 2003 Aggravated Sexual Assault of a six-year-old child charge. The child and her mother both testified at the opening of the trial. The child described in detail how Barker forced her to have intercourse with him.
According to the DA, Shelia Durden of the Henderson County Help Center and Investigator Michael Shelley of the Henderson County Sheriff's Office also testified during the trial. During sentencing, the jury also heard evidence that the Defendant was previously convicted in 2007 of Sexual Assault of a fourteen-year-old girl and had physically abused several women that he had been in relationships with over the course of twenty years.
Both Rumar and Huckle referred to Barker as "a dangerous man with violent tendencies toward women and girls" and asked the jurors to remove him from society, according to court records.
"I would certainly consider this poetic justice," said District Attorney Scott McKee. "This defendant has spent his adult life abusing women and young girls and now 13 women (two prosecutors and 11 jurors) have removed him from our community." McKee indicated that he is proud of the work the Henderson County Child Advocacy Center and Ray Nutt and his department did on this case. "We have worked hard over the past four years to approach these types of cases from a team perspective, and today it paid off."
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