Weatherford Democrat

April 23, 2014

Springtown man gets 37-year sentence

Weatherford Democrat

— A Parker County jury Thursday convicted a Springtown man of continuous sexual abuse of a young child, giving him a 37-year prison sentence. 

Jamie Lee Ford, 29, was convicted of repeatedly sexually assaulting and fondling a young girl from ages 5-9 in Parker and Tarrant Counties.

“The continuous sexual abuse of a young child charge allowed us to prosecute this defendant and hold him accountable for the entirety of his conduct against this little girl in both counties,” said Assistant District Attorney Jeff Swain, who tried the case for the prosecution along with Assistant District Attorney Kathleen Catania. “Being able to do this in one case instead of several is advantageous for jurors, who get to see the entire picture, and for the victim, who will only have to testify once and yet get justice for everything that happened to her.”

During the now 10-year-old victim’s testimony, she provided numerous details of the sexual abuse that she suffered at the defendant’s hands.

“This was one very brave girl,” Catania said. “Her vivid descriptions to the jury about things that no 10-year-old girl should know, things that only someone who had either been in an adult sexual relationship or sexually abused would know, gave her testimony tremendous credibility.”

During the guilt-innocence phase of trial, the prosecution also called the girl’s neighbor, who was the first person the victim told about the abuse, a sexual assault nurse examiner from Cook Children’s Hospital and Parker County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Ricky Montgomery.

“In his interview with Montgomery, the defendant said that the victim must have misunderstood the ‘bumps, bruises, and rashes checks’ that he performed on her while naked as something sexual,” Swain said. “This corroborated the victim’s descriptions, but her testimony made it clear that he went far beyond just checking the victim for injuries.”

Jurors deliberated for more than two hours before finding Ford guilty of continuous sexual abuse of a young child, the highest level charge submitted to the jury.

During the punishment phase of trial, the defense introduced evidence that the defendant had served for eight years in the United States Army and had received numerous commendations and medals.

“At the end of the day, while his service in the army was admirable, what he did to this little girl was deplorable and deserving of a severe sentence,” Swain said.

During closing arguments on punishment, Swain asked jurors to compare their earliest childhood memories and first sexual experiences with those that the victim will have to live with for the rest of her life.

Jurors deliberated for about an hour and a half before returning with a 37-year prison sentence.

“Since there is no parole allowed for this kind of offense, Ford will not be released from prison until 2049,” said District Attorney Don Schnebly. “We appreciate the jury’s work on this case and the strong message that they sent on behalf of our community.”