From the Anderson County District Attorney's Office
ANDERSON COUNTY, TX - On May 3, 2017 an Anderson County Jury found 21-year-old Garrett Forester guilty of the felony offense of Continuous Sexual Assault of Children, and sentenced him to 50 years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice-Institutional Division. Forester will serve the 50 years sentence day for day; only becoming eligible to discharge from prison on this offense when he is 71 years old.
The Jury heard evidence from then Freestone County DPS Trooper D. Wimberly in the form of testimony and video that he stopped a vehicle in Fairfield, Texas on October 7, 2015 for a defective light. The Trooper noted open beer cans and after gaining consent from Forester to search the vehicle, he located additional beer cans, a small amount of marijuana and a child's backpack which was located in the trunk. Forester was asked if he knew the name of the child written in a notebook in the back pack and he denied any knowledge. Trooper Wimberly, who recently attended human trafficking training, determined that there could be more to Forester's claims. He asked consent from Forester to review Forester's cell phone and Forester gave him permission. In reviewing the cell phone videos it was determined that he had in his possession two videos showing a man engaging in oral sexual acts with young children.
The Trooper asked Forester about the videos and he admitted that he was the person in both videos and that he recorded them. In one video Forester is seen receiving oral sex, and in the other video he is seen forcing himself into the mouth of a sleeping child. He was adamant, however, that both children were 14 years of age or older and he was 17 years at the time. After this admission, Forester agreed to go to the Freestone County Courthouse to be interviewed by Special Agent C. Frost of the DPS. Forester was Mirandized and then asked about the videos. He again admitted it was him in both videos and that the assaults happened in Anderson County. Special Agent Frost was able to determine from time stamps that one video was recorded on September 4, 2016 and the other video was recorded October 7, 2016. Forester agreed that the date stamps were correct making him 19 and 20 years of age in each video. The case was then turned over to Investigator Ginger Lively at the Anderson County Sheriff's Office. Investigator Lively was able to piece together the complete identity of the other child through the sparse information received from Forester, social media, and other interviews. She then determined that in each video, both children were 12 years old. In one video Forester is seen receiving oral sex and in the other video he is seen forcing himself into the mouth of a sleeping child.
After pleading Not Guilty at trial, Forester changed his plea to Guilty after hearing all the State's evidence. The Jury found him Guilty then moved on to the punishment phase. Continuous Sexual Assault of Children is a 1st degree felony which carries a range of punishment from 25 years to 99 years, or life confinement in TDCJ.
The state put on punishment evidence showing the jury that both of the children had very low IQs. The sleeping child has an IQ of 32 and is severely disabled mentally and physically, and that the other child has an IQ in the lower 50s. That child is a very trusting person that aims to please others and the child's parent detailed how the assault changed the child's life. Then the jury heard evidence from the defendant and other family and friends. The defendant claimed that both assaults were simple mistakes, that he didn't remember much of them, and that he was using K2 at the time.
Other witnesses from the defense stated that each incident was a mistake, and that Forester was not capable of committing such crimes. They too blamed his behavior on K2. The state called Detective Kaylan Griffin in rebuttal. Det. Griffin explained to the jury that K2 is a stimulant that drives its users over the edge; users are not peaceful or zoned out as the defendant and his witnesses claimed. She further testified that in her experience with those that have used K2, it has never driven a person to commit sexual assaults against children. After all the testimony, the jury then sentenced him to 50 years in TDCJ-ID. The State was represented by Anderson County Criminal District Attorney Allyson Mitchell and First Assistant Scott Holden while the defendant was represented by local attorney, Colin McFall with 349th Judicial District Judge Pam Foster Fletcher presiding over the trial.
Anderson County Criminal District Attorney Allyson Mitchell stated she believes the punishment is just and right in light of the acts Forester committed. Mitchell said, "As a community and as a society, our greatest concern should be the welfare and safety of children. Forester is as an adult who preyed on innocent, disabled children. He kept the videos as trophies of what he did and we believe that he was escalating. With two sexual assaults a year apart, it is fair to say there could have been a third time had Trooper Wimberly not caught him." She further praised the instincts of Trooper Wimberly and the actions of Special Agent Frost and Investigator Lively. "Had Trooper Wimberly not sensed something was wrong, Forester would not have been held accountable for his actions. Our Legislature created this law to be one of the most server laws on punishment in our State. This case is an example of why this law is needed. By the jury's sentence, more children here and anywhere else will be safe from Forester."