Tyler man guilty in child sex assault case

SMITH COUNTY (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - A Smith County jury in the 114th District Court took more than five hours on Wednesday to decide that a Tyler man was guilty of sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl he was babysitting one year ago as her mother worked.
David Burnett Williams, 48, could receive up to life in prison on five counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child when Judge Christi Kennedy sentences him on Nov. 19.

The child testified in court that Williams touched her inappropriately and engaged in sexual acts with her on Oct. 31, 2011. The child drew circles around body parts of both a male and female diagrams to show how the abuse occurred, saying the touching "didn't feel right," and "felt weird."

In her opening statements to the jury on Tuesday, prosecutor Whitney Tharpe said the defendant abused the child when her mother, who worked nights as a certified nursing assistant, was asleep. When the girl's mother asked her if something had happened to her, the child told her what Williams had allegedly done. "Mom became very angry," Ms. Tharpe said. She added that the girl stopped talking when she saw how upset her mother was.

Prosecutor Jacob Putnam served as co-counsel with Ms. Tharpe.

Defense attorney Brent Ratekin told the jury to only consider the evidence they heard from the witness stand and to take into account all the evidence as they deliberated. "It sounds bad. I won't sugarcoat it," Ratekin said during his opening arguments Tuesday.

The mother told jurors that she did not immediately go to the authorities when the child reported the abuse and waited for one week, which she said she knew was wrong.


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