Gilmer man 2 life sentences affirmed in court of appeals

UPSHUR COUNTY (KYTX) - On Friday, March 1, 2013, the Sixth Court of Appeals affirmed two life sentences and two $10,000 fines assessed by an Upshur County Jury last February against 27-year-old Johnathan J. Darden.

This case was reported to the Gilmer Police Department after Darden took his girlfriend's child, who was under the age of 14 at the time, and did not respond back to the home in Gilmer until the following morning of July 1, 2011.

The defendant, his girlfriend, and her daughter were living with the defendant's mother in Gilmer.

Upon the defendant's return to the home, Gilmer Police were waiting because the mother of the child contacted police to report that her daughter had been taken.

Darden was arrested and the child was briefly interviewed by an investigator.

The investigator determined the child should be taken to a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) and an exam was performed.

After physical evidence consistent with abuse was found during the exam, the child opened up and ultimately testified at trial about the abuse.

The victim testified that she had been abused sexually by the defendant on more that one occasion which led the grand jury to indict the defendant on two counts of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child.

Darden was both convicted and sentenced by the same jury in February 2012.

115th District Judge, Lauren Parish, presided over all proceedings. At trial, the State was represented by Criminal District Attorney, Billy W. Byrd. On appeal, the State was represented by Assistant DA, Natalie A. Miller.

At trial, Darden was represented by Gilmer Attorney, Brandon Winn, and on appeal, by Gilmer Attorney, Tim cone.


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