Weatherford Democrat

Big Story AM

September 9, 2011

Sentenced to life

WEATHERFORD — WEATHERFORD — A 25-year-old Saginaw man who pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault of a child and online solicitation of a child was given prison sentences of life and 20 years in a punishment trial that concluded late Wednesday in district court in Weatherford.

In April, Johnathan Eugene Cooper pleaded guilty to the October 2008 charges and elected to have District Judge Trey Loftin assess his punishment. Cooper has been arrested four times for sexual assault of a child and three cases are pending, Assistant District Attorney Nikki Morton said in opening statements of the trial on Aug. 3.

“Sir, you are a serial child rapist,” Loftin said while sentencing Cooper. “You’re obsessed with young girls.”

During the course of the trial, five different women testified that they had sex with Cooper when they were between 13 and 16 years old and he was an adult. One also said that he told her that he had previously had sex with an 11-year-old. Three other women testified that after they had sex with Cooper, he asked them to arrange for him to have sex with underage girls.

“One of the most offensive things that came out during the trial was a text message that this defendant sent to our then-13-year-old victim in which he asked her to arrange for him to have sex with a 6-year-old girl,” said Morton, who tried the case with Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain.

Officers who testified about the Johnson County offense said when they executed a search warrant on Cooper’s house, they found a stack of papers related to the Parker County offense, including several photographs of cell phone screens containing what appeared to be blackmail messages sent to him from the Parker County victim.

However, Cooper’s ex-girlfriend testified that he used computer software to create the texts and send them to a cell phone so that they would appear to be sent to him from the victim when, in fact, they were fabricated. She also said that he ordered a fake driver’s license from California for the victim which purported her to be over 21 years old in an attempt to manufacture a defense.

Prosecutors also introduced evidence that, despite bond conditions prohibiting him from contacting the victim, Cooper created an alternative Myspace account and continued to contact the 13-year-old girl in an attempt to create a defense.

“This was one of the most devious and manipulative defendants that I have prosecuted,” Morton said.

Patrol deputy Aaron Preston testified he responded to a call of a past sexual assault of a child with the suspect reportedly on the way back to the 13-year-old girl’s home around 2 a.m. Oct. 20, 2008.

After watching an intersection, he saw a silver car go toward the residence and stopped the vehicle, Preston said. Cooper was subsequently arrested and his vehicle impounded.

The girl’s mother told him her daughter had sex with him the previous night or early morning, and he was returning to meet her again for sexual intercourse, Preston testified.

DNA evidence obtained from the girl’s pajama pants matched Cooper, according to testimony from the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s office.

“At the time of the Parker County offense, this defendant was on bond for committing a Tarrant County sexual assault,” Swain said. “After our offense, when he posted bond again, judges in both counties required Mr. Cooper to be on a GPS electronic monitor. While on that monitor, he committed the Johnson County offense with a teenager that he met online, which is the same way that he met the victim on the Parker County offense. The fact that he would not change his behavior despite being on bond and having his whereabouts continually monitored showed that he would not stop until he is forced to do so.

“I think that it is important for parents to know that the last two offenses were committed with young teenagers that this defendant met on Myspace. It is really important for parents to keep an eye on their children to see what they’re doing online.”

Cooper still faces sexual assault charges in both Tarrant and Johnson counties. He will be eligible for parole on the Parker County sentences in 2040.

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