DA Prosecutes Sex Offender, Jury Hands Down 18 Years, LIVINGSTON, August 20, 2008 - Polk County District Attorney William Lee Hon prosecuted a sex offender and a jury subsequently handed down 18 years in the punishment phase. The following is a press release from Polk County Criminal District Attorney's Office:
A Polk County Jury recommended that David Kent Ortiz, age 42 of Killeen, be sentenced to serve 18 years in prison and be assessed a $10,000 fine on Tuesday following a 2 day trial before Judge Elizabeth Coker in the 258th District Court. Ortiz, formerly of Montgomery County, had been indicted by a Polk County Grand Jury in December for the Second Degree felony offense of Indecency with a Child stemming from an incident that occurred on July 24, 2007 in the Onalaska area and involving a 7 year old female victim.
At trial, the evidence presented included the testimony of the victim who stated that on the date of the incident she had spent the night with her mother who was dating Ortiz at the time. The victim stated that early in the morning, Ortiz had entered the living room of the residence where she was sleeping and fondled her in a sexual manner with his hand. Other witnesses at trial included the father of the victim to whom the child originally reported the molestation, the victim’s mother; and Polk County Sheriff’s Detective Craig Finegan who had conducted the investigation. In addition, Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Investigator Shauna Farrar testified regarding a forensic interview she conducted of the victim. On cross-examination, Ortiz denied molesting the child but admitted that he had been using crystal methamphetamine during the night before the incident. The jury deliberated barely 30 minutes Tuesday afternoon before returning a Guilty verdict to the single count indictment.
During the punishment phase of the trial, Ortiz returned to the witness stand and stated that he “agreed with the jury’s verdict.” Ortiz next conceded that he had, in fact, looked beneath the child’s panties but denied touching her in a sexual manner. On cross-examination by Polk County District Attorney Lee Hon, Ortiz confessed that he probably had an “abnormal interest in young girls” and stated that he “needed help.” With a two to twenty year punishment range at their disposal, the jury deliberated approximately 40 minutes before returning with the near maximum sentence of 18 years and steep fine. Ortiz will have to serve a minimum of nine years in prison before he may be considered for parole. Upon release, Ortiz will also be subject to a lifetime registration requirement as a sex offender.
Following the trial, Hon stated that he was “extremely pleased” with the jury’s verdict and felt that it sent a “tough message that the people of Polk County are fed up with the sexual victimization of children.” “If there is any segment of our society that deserves to be protected by our laws from those who would seek to do them harm, it is our children” Hon stated. “The Polk County Sheriff’s Department, with the assistance of T.D.P.R.S, put together a strong case and should be commended” Hon added. In addition, Hon commended “an especially brave little girl who had the strength and courage to come forward and tell what happened so Ortiz might be brought to justice.”
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