Man who jumped bond pleads guilty to sex assault of child

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A man who jumped bond to avoid a bench trial on aggravated sexual assault of a child charges pled guilty, according to the Angelina County District Attorney.

District Attorney Clyde Herrington said Weldon Bridges accepted a 22-year sentence and waived his right to appeal. Herrington said his office would not pursue charges his bond forfeiture or a previous indictment of copper theft.

Herrington said his office at one time had agreed to an eight-year sentence but Bridges backed out of it. He said his bond jumping played a factor in the stiffer sentence.

"The flight is admissible as evidence of guilt," Herrington said. "Also, last year we didn't want to make the victim have to testify. But she has come around well since then and was ready to testify so that drove our price up."

In a phone interview, the victim's father admitted he would have liked a longer sentence but trusted Herrington's judgment.

"I guess it's over as far as closure," the father said. "My daughter doesn't have to go through the trial. I had to put my trust in the people we have put in office and Mr. Herrington is a professional and made sure there was no way (Bridges) could appeal it."

Herrington said under conditions of the plea, Bridges will have to serve 11 years before a parole hearing would even be considered.